Andrew Luck never considered returning to football

Andrew Luck was back in Indianapolis on Friday night. He said he has never considered coming back to football.

“When I retired, that part of it was put to bed in my mind in a very simple, sort of direct way,” Luck said, via Joal A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “There were a lot of complications around it, you know, certainly tormented inside, as you guys saw that night, but I think that part of it has stayed.”

Luck abruptly retired in August 2019, just days short of his 30th birthday. He was in his prime. And he loved the game.

“It gives you purpose, it gives you structure,” Luck said. “You’re on a team. I think you find some, you know, it scratches some deep itches of relationship and community and purpose and hard work. . . .
There are parts of it you miss. You don’t get to repeat that in life.”

He’s returning now, as he closes in on turning 35. And he believes he has a debt to pay, even though he played in the NFL for only seven seasons.

“Football gave me a lot,” Luck said. “A lot. Most importantly, again, the relationships and the experiences with people that I loved. . . . I think part of me feels, and I don’t mean this in a cheesy way, but part of me feels like, you know, it’s my turn to give back to this game.”

It’s almost as if he waited to re-emerge until he was certain there would be no desire to return. No temptation to come back. No compulsion to play again, for the Colts or someone else.

If Friday night’s appearance in Indianapolis was part of his effort to “give back to the game,” he apparently is confident that the game won’t pull him back in.

He could still play, if he wanted to. He was in the same draft class as — and is younger than — Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins. Ryan Tannehill, who also was taken in round one of 2012, will likely land somewhere, at some point.

Luck apparently won’t. Even though he entered the league four years after Joe Flacco, the current backup to Colts starter Anthony Richardson. Even though he could still play.

Whatever Luck’s reason(s) for stepping away, they were very strong. Strong enough to overcome his love of the game and his desire to be part of it.

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