Like many Hoosiers and people across the country, I was pretty stunned to see Andrew Luck retire from football late Saturday.
I was upstairs when I heard my wife say from from our living room that he informed the team he was retiring.
Down the stairs I went to see for myself.
Sure enough, several legitimate news organizations were reporting it.
I watched the press conference before going to bed. I woke Sunday morning thinking it was possibly a dream, but then started reading all the social media comments and other opinions.
Many were negative, and as a Colts fan my entire life, I was pretty embarrassed to see the video where fans at Lucas Oil Stadium booed Luck off the field.
As my wife and I discussed over a cup of coffee, I told her that as a fan I was a little frustrated, but as a human I respected his decision.
I then laid it out as plainly as I could.
What if Andrew Luck was my friend and wanted my advice on what he should do about the situation he was in?
I imagine he’d say that he was considering retirement because he worried for his physical and mental health, but anticipates a lot of anger for retiring.
What would the fans say?
Here’s what I would tell him: Andrew, my friend, it’s okay to choose yourself and your well being over a game where complete strangers lift you as a hero one week and drop you in a pool of criticism the next for their own entertainment.
Why is choosing spending time with your family and attempting to avoid living in physical agony the rest of your life so bad? Not to mention the mental toll four years of the cycle of injury, pain and rehabilitation, as he put it in his news conference.
I’d tell him not to listen to the people who have no clue what he’s going through.
I saw something online that summed up another way I feel about it all.
Luck reached the top of his sport and was willing to walk away because he is not longer happy doing it, a point my sister rightfully said was the saddest part of the news conference.
What character that takes.
I do have to address those who I’ve seen and about calling him "soft."
How many hits from NFL linebackers have you taken? How many 300 pound linemen, who by the way can run faster than you think, have thrown you to the ground?
I get it, you played in high school so you know what it’s like to be hit by a high school kid. Since that’s even within the same realm of what Luck has been through.
Luck was sacked 174 times in 86 career games by the fastest, strongest men on the gridiron. In case you’re wondering, that’s more than two a game.
That doesn’t take into account the number of times he was hit while running down field or thrown to the ground shortly after throwing a pass.
That number of hits only allowed him to play seven games in 2015 and sit out the entire 2017 season.
So please spare me that you know what Andrew Luck has gone through. I don’t think any of us do.
I guess I get that people may be frustrated about the timing with the season only two weeks from beginning, but remember he thought he’d get better all summer.
If I were Andrew Luck’s friend I’d tell him to do exactly what he did Saturday evening: Walk away and pursue something that will bring you joy.