Eagles sympathize with Andrew Luck’s decision to retire

Ed Benkin
August 25, 2019 - 7:32 pm
Aug 24, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck walks off the field after the game against the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia Eagles’ star tight end Zach Ertz says he was just as shocked as the rest of the football world when his former college teammate announced his retirement.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced he was stepping away from football due to the frustration of dealing with multiple injuries throughout his time in the NFL. Ertz played alongside Luck at Stanford, and says he has plenty of respect for Luck both as a player and as a person. 

"I was shocked," Ertz said. "Andrew and I played together for a long time. Our relationship is so much bigger than football. Football brought us together. I was shocked for sure. He's one of the best players in the league, in my opinion. Obviously, I'm extremely happy for his future whatever it entails."

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Ertz wasn’t the only one surprised at the now former Colts quarterback’s decision.

Head coach Doug Pederson spent 14 seasons in the NFL, and while he was primarily a backup, Pederson took his share of hits during his career. While Pederson doesn’t have an injury list as long as Luck, the Birds’ head coach says he understands the situation. On Sunday, Pederson spoke about the respect he has for Luck, and says he hopes Luck can find more success away from football.

"It's tough," Pederson said.  "Obviously, you could tell through his comments last night that he put a lot of thought and a lot of conversation with family, friends, coaches, the owner; and it's a tough thing for him to be able to step away like that. I hope he gets healthy and wish him the best moving forward."

Playing with pain is part of life in the NFL, and no one goes through an entire career without an injury. While Luck and other players have dealt with season-ending injuries, others are wounded but find a way to play through the pain. Jason Kelce has been in both situations and says he knows what the tradeoff is all about.

"Everybody's got their own journey through this thing," said Kelce. "I'm just happy the guy is going to be happy, I guess. It sounds like he was going through some rough stuff injury-wise. It's definitely part of the game. Pain itself is a pretty depressing thing, and having to deal with it constantly is something that's not fun."

When someone like Luck decides to walk away from the game at the age of 29, it no doubt causes many players to stop and reflect on their situation. The tradeoff for the money and the glory of the NFL is not only the injury factor, but the long term effects is has on players after football. Lane Johnson also wished nothing but the best for Luck in his retirement and was asked if the thought of retiring at an earlier age had ever crossed his mind. Johnson said his extended football family helps him to keep going despite dealing with his own share of pain.

"It's all my buddies," Johnson said. “I'd miss my family. I love going to work even though sometimes, work is exactly what it is, but I am good time with my buddies."

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