Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s final NFL game will be a playoff loss to the Chiefs in January.
In a stunning turn, Luck announced after the Colts’ preseason game Saturday that he is retiring.
“This is not an easy decision,” Luck told reporters. “Honestly, it’s the hardest decision of my life, but it is the right decision for me. For the last four years or so, I’ve been through this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, and it’s been unceasing, unrelenting, both in season and offseason. I felt stuck in it and the only way I see out is to no longer play football. It’s taken my joy of this game away.”
Luck, 29, hasn’t played in the preseason as he’s dealt with a calf problem and later an ankle sprain.
“I don’t know if there was a final straw, per se. The lack of progress, I think, just builds up,” Luck told reporters. “I can’t remember if there was one thing that (was) a tipping point or a final straw. I feel so much clarity and again so grateful for the experiences and the positive times that I have had here.”
After being the No. 1 overall pick out of Stanford in the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck was a Pro Bowl selection in each of his first three seasons. Injuries limited his playing time in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and he missed the entire 2017 season because of a right shoulder injury.
Luck returned to the Colts last season and made his fourth Pro Bowl after throwing for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns. Indianapolis made the playoffs as a wild card and beat the Texans before losing to the Chiefs 31-13 in an AFC Divisional playoff game.
It was a measure of payback for the Chiefs, who suffered one of their worst playoff losses to the Colts on Jan. 4, 2014. The Chiefs led 38-10 in the second half, but Luck rallied Indianapolis to a 45-44 victory.
The Colts will face the Chiefs in a “Sunday Night Football” game on Oct. 6, but Luck won’t be with Indianapolis when they do.
Luck’s retirement means Jacoby Brissett will be the starter. The Colts open the season against the Chargers in Los Angeles on Sept. 8.
Stats by Stats noted Luck threw 171 touchdowns in the six seasons he played, the second most in NFL history over a player’s first six seasons behind Dan Marino (196).
If this is Luck’s last season, he will have set another record with his 39 touchdown passes last year, according to Stats by Stats. Roger Staubach’s 27 touchdown passes for the Cowboys in 1979 had been the most by a player in his final season.
“I very clearly in my mind see that I won’t (come back),” Luck told reporters.