There have been many opinions about the retirement of Andrew Luck, which has drawn massive amounts of praise and criticism. Some have even drawn vitriol for their comments as this subject has become an incredibly sensitive one. Luck felt he had suffered enough from NFL football, calling it a career after giving six seasons of his talents to the Indianapolis Colts on August 24th, 2019.
Luck gave this press conference shortly after NFL insider, Adam Schefter broke the news to the world via Twitter.
So many people voiced their opinions with several athletes pouring out their support. One of those people was our very own Rich Ohrnberger whose show you can listen to Sundays 1pm-5pm ET/10am-2pm PT along with Steve Hartman.
Ohrnberger felt compelled to share his own story of retiring from the NFL on Twitter and why he thinks that Luck is no coward who most definitely LOVES football. He hopes to make it clear that Lucks decision to walk has nothing to do with the sport being 'too hard' as some pundits might have put it.
Watching Andrew Luck's retirement press conference brought back a lot of memories. My "last day" was Tuesday, October 13th, 2015... my decision was made at a hotel lobby bar in Detroit after a group tryout with the Lions. Here's my story...
My final season was 2014, I was playing for the Chargers and I was a MESS. I had been dealing with severe back pain for 2 years, and it was coming to a head. I became the starting center during a Week 1 game in Arizona, by Week 3 in Buffalo I was very debilitated.
My mornings began at 4:30AM crawling from my bed to the bathtub, my pregnant wife would help me get in the tub, and I would soak & stretch until I was able to walk. I'd then go to the facility and do exercises to strengthen my back, but the pain was unrelenting.
It was determined that I would need spinal surgery, but I could continue playing as long as the symptoms were manageable. Throughout the season I received 5 or 6 epidural injections. Some were less than 2 weeks apart. I would constantly fantasize about that surgery.
I wasn't sleeping because I couldn't find a comfortable position to alleviate the pain. I was miserable because of the pain. I was afraid because I wondered if the pain would ever go away... but I kept playing. I didn't want to let down my family, coaches, teammates, or myself.
I had a pretty significant injury history (I'll get to all of that) and I was worried if I finished another season on the IR, it would be my last. Unfortunately, the more I played the worse the symptoms became...
I remember one night, laying in bed, tears streaming from eyes, considering waking my wife to take me to the Emergency Room.
It's surreal to look back and review this... it's hideously comical how much of myself I was willing to give, but the alternative felt like failure.
The last game I ever played was November 16th, 2014. We were hosting the Raiders, and while I was still dealing with my back, I partially tore some ankle ligaments during the game and received a numbing injection in the locker room trying to finish the game... I couldn't.
It was time to make some difficult decisions.
I was losing strength in my right leg. My leg was also 'blanking out' or becoming momentarily paralyzed, sometimes while I was walking or running (I'd hit the ground every time). I was told me loss of strength could be forever...
I elected to have back surgery in December of 2014, I was placed on IR. The recovery was not easy. The first two months were especially grueling. The pain slowly subsided. I started feeling like myself. My contract expired with the Chargers. I was a free agent.
After 8 months of intense rehab and training, I had a training camp workout with the Bills-- I was not signed. I then had a training camp workout with the Steelers-- no dice. Then, nothing...
Preseason ended, the NFL season was underway. The phone wasn't ringing.
The Detroit Lions got off to an 0-5 start. I was brought in for a group workout on Tuesday, October 13th, 2015. I was one of ten or so 'guys' they dragged in for this workout. It was clear, they weren't kicking our tires, they were sending a message to their locker room.
That night, I sat down in a hotel lobby bar in Detroit, I ordered a steak and a bourbon, and retired. There wasn't a press conference, no one broke the news, but it was over.
I called my wife, who was at home in San Diego with our 4 month old. I said, "I'm done."
Over the course of my career, I was drafted in the 4th round, went to a Super Bowl, played in a playoff game, snapped footballs to 2 Hall of Fame QBs, made lifelong friends, and lived a dream.
...but the trade off was significant...
I've had both shoulders operated on, part of a clavicle bone removed, spent a season on IR due to a concussion, ruptured my MCL, and had back surgery. That's the abbreviated list...
Football is about dealing with pain.
...but it wears you down.
I don't know Andrew Luck, but he isn't a coward, he loves football, and he isn't giving up because rehabilitating injuries is "too hard."
Everyone has their steak and bourbon moment eventually... his was in front of the world, and he handled it with class and poise.