Andrew Luck Retirement Press Conference Speech Transcript: Luck Retiring from NFL
Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the NFL in a speech on Saturday, citing a painful few years of injuries and rehab. Read the full press conference of the announcement below.
Andrew Luck: 00:04 …talk with parents and children, reading to kids at schools, hanging out, children’s museum, the wonderful things they do there, so a big thank you to the city. It’s always will hold a special place in my heart.
Andrew Luck: 00:20 I guess I’ll transition to this current team and why it makes it so difficult, I guess, for me to stand up here and say I’m retired. It’s a great group of men. It’s a great group of guys. A group that makes coming to work every day feel very, very special, and I feel incredibly lucky for that. Fans and people need to know about the men in that locker room. They’re great. They’re honest. They’re real. There’s no bigger fan of them than me.
Andrew Luck: 00:51 Chris Ballard, thank you. You know I have so much respect and admiration for you. We’ve had a lot of tough conversations. I’ve learned so much from him. The honesty, it’s incredible.
Andrew Luck: 01:05 Frank, you’re so thoughtful, driven, kind. Again, I’ve learned so much. There were times last year I’d have to pinch myself and say, “Is this for real? Am I allowed to have this much fun on a football field?” and that started with you.
Andrew Luck: 01:21 Nick Sirianni and Marcus Brady. It’s the same. I’m going to miss being with them every day. They’re good people.
Andrew Luck: 01:29 All the rest of the staff, they made coming into work a joy and something that I certainly, certainly will miss. Coming back last year and playing, a lot of people helped me in a lot of ways and they’ll never know how important that was to me and I’m, again, so, so appreciative.
Andrew Luck: 01:58 And my teammates, I feel so conflicted because of my love for these men, but it is clear to me that what’s best for this team does not involve me. I’d like to say a quick note about a few of them as we get towards the end here.
Andrew Luck: 02:16 When I was a seven-year-old, my father drove me up to Amsterdam, and I watched Adam Vinatieri kick for the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe. Then when I was in seventh grade my father took me to the Super Bowl in Houston and I watched Adam Vinatieri kick a game winner against the Carolina Panthers. And then, of course, my first win as a Colt involves Adam Vinatieri kicking a game winner against the Minnesota Vikings, and I told him all this earlier today. I stand in awe of Adam Vinatieri. He’s a great man, a great teammate, and again, he’s one of those guys I’ll tell my grandkids I got to play with him.
Andrew Luck: 02:56 The guys on the O-line, Braden, Glow, Ryan, Q, Hagrid, Le’Raven, Bamer, Josh, and of course Anthony, they’ve been a pleasure to play around, and there’s so many more that I’ve played with in the past, but they were a big part of last year being very special for me, Obviously, the success of the team. I’m so grateful and appreciative to have had a guy like Anthony Castonzo be in the building from the day I walked in.
Andrew Luck: 03:28 Jacoby Brissett is an awesome dude. He’s got a bright future. He’s diligent, sharp, loves football. I hope I can continue to support him in different ways. I am so grateful for our friendship. It’s getting a little more personal, but coming back into the building early last year I was very jealous and resentful of this fun, happy dude that was in my spot as a quarterback on this team. I obviously didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself at that time either, but I could not have been more wrong, and he helped me grow in so many ways. He’s a lifelong friend. He means so, so much to me. He was a big part of me having one of the more rewarding years of my football life last year. I cannot wait to support him and see him lead this team. I am excited for the future of the Colts in large part because of Jacoby and also all the other men in that locker room.
Andrew Luck: 04:29 There’s so many guys on offense and defense that I’ve had a pleasure to play with. Clayton Gathers… I love watching Clayton gathers run around and play football. All the running backs and Raffi, the tight ends. Eric Ebron was fun to play with. I’m so excited for his future. He’s a great friend. Mo, Jack Doyle. Jackie Jack and I have been through a lot together. I’m going to miss him a lot on the football field, but we’re friends forever. And the rest of the guys, I have so, so, so much respect and love and it runs so deep in me for them and I hope they feel that because I know so many guys in that locker room have had such a significant impact on my life in so many ways.
Andrew Luck: 05:17 And lastly, in terms of guys on this team, TY Hilton. I had more fun throwing the football at TY than should be allowed probably. When I was away in 2017 for the latter half of the season, I had to figure out why I wanted to come back and play football, and I boiled it simply down to the fact that I like throwing the ball to my friends and I love throwing the ball to TY Hilton. He’s the best football player I’ve ever played with and he is a better teammate than he is a football player.
Andrew Luck: 05:50 In conclusion, my folks, who aren’t here tonight, but Mom, Dad, Mare, Emily, Add, Uncle Will, all my friends, thank you, and my wife Nicole, thank you, I love you.
Andrew Luck: 06:31 I guess in a philosophical sense, I want to thank football for so many wonderful moments in my life and the pressure, circumstances, environment that pushed me to grow, learn, change in so many meaningful ways. It’s the greatest team sport in the world.
Andrew Luck: 06:49 Please, if you have questions, I’d like to ask them.
Press: 06:53 Was this planned today, to mention retirement?
Andrew Luck: 06:56 No. I’ll be honest, I was going to tell my teammates after the game and 3 p.m. tomorrow was the time I was going to talk to you guys.
Press: 07:06 [crosstalk 00:07:06] obviously it’s difficult. How long has this been building? Did you wake up this morning and say [crosstalk 00:07:12]-
Andrew Luck: 07:12 No, no, I didn’t wake up this morning. A week and a half, two weeks. It’s been a little bit fast and furious. The lack of progress on my ankle and I’m in pain. I’m still in pain. I’ve been in this cycle which feels like, I mean, it’s been four years of this injury, pain, rehab cycle, and for me to move forward in my life the way I want to, it doesn’t involve football.
Press: 07:41 [crosstalk 00:07:41] this was the tipping point? If not for this you might be having a different conversation?
Andrew Luck: 07:46 Yeah. I guess the reality is I have this and I’ve had had this, so I don’t know if tipping point, but it’s shoulder and then the ankle and then this and this. I don’t feel like I’ve lived the life… I can’t live the life that I want to live moving forward with this year.
Press: 08:20 Is this the first time retirement entered your mind in a serious way?
Andrew Luck: 08:23 Yeah, a couple of weeks ago, a week and a half ago.
Press: 08:25 Not even last year?
Andrew Luck: 08:26 No.
Press: 08:28 How much of an emotional toll has all of this taken on you?
Andrew Luck: 08:31 Yeah, I feel quite exhausted and quite tired. I do know once I hit the sort of point where I felt like I knew what I needed to do for myself and talked to Nicole and my folks and some close friends and family and then had some very difficult conversations with, with Mr. Irsay, Frank, and Chris, but it did feel like in a sense a weight was lifted then, but it’s been tiring. I feel tired and not just in the physical sense,
Press: 09:09 What was the final straw, Andrew? Was it after a workout? What was it you said, “You know what, I’m going to go home, sleep on this-
Andrew Luck: 09:15 I don’t know if there was a final straw per se. The lack of progress I think just built up and run into one, okay, turn the corner, okay, climbed another stumbling block, turn the corner, turn the corner… I can’t remember if there was one thing, that tipping point or final straw, but yeah, again, I feel so much clarity and, again, so grateful for the experiences and the positive times that I have had here.
Zach: 09:48 How do you know, say a year from now when the ankle’s finally healed you won’t want to come back?
Andrew Luck: 09:52 Yeah, I can’t see the future, Zach. I’m not going to sit here and say it, but I very clearly in my mind see that I won’t. It’s not… yeah.
Press: 10:04 Do you know what’s going on with the ankle yet?
Andrew Luck: 10:07 It’s a myriad of issues, calf strain, posterior impingement, high ankle sprain. Part of my journey going forward will be getting out of pain and figuring out what’s going on and how to feel better, obviously. I don’t have any definitiveness in mind on it and we’ll continue working on that.
Press: 10:34 It’s going to be quite a timeline to deal with that if you continue playing?
Andrew Luck: 10:40 Yeah. I’m not, so it’s [crosstalk 00:10:45]-
Press: 10:44 The ribs, the kidney, the shoulder, the ankle, the calf, all that over the years is what led us here today, is that correct?
Andrew Luck: 10:53 Yeah, and I’d like to say, too, this has been my personal journey in football, obviously. Everybody’s journey is different. You know, over the past week I’d sit and think am I going to have a bunch of words of sentiment towards this game or spite towards coming to this building? And I don’t, all I feel his love for this game and love for my teammates and walking in. I know my journey has had some ups and downs and physically it has taken its toll over the last four years. I mean, that is why I’m here, and the mental and emotional toll that takes as well. Yeah.
Press: 11:37 You never could have imagined walking away from football at the age of 29.
Andrew Luck: 11:41 Yeah, I’ll be honest, I didn’t imagine retiring until two weeks ago, but no, I didn’t think of it in that way, no, no.
Press: 11:52 Last Saturday on the field, what were your emotions coming off? Because you said you’d been thinking about it for two weeks. Did you think then you still were going to play this year?
Andrew Luck: 12:02 I had a thought that this might be my last time throwing on Lucas Oil as a current member of a Colts team. I told myself to make sure to go out and enjoy it, you know.
Press: 12:16 You’ve always been one of those people who took the blame on anything, whether it was an interception or whatnot and stuff. Did you ever try to say, “All right, maybe I should try to play through this because I don’t want to let those guys in the locker room down”?
Andrew Luck: 12:29 It’s a good question and in 2016 after that season in which I played through some stuff, I made a vow to myself that I would never do that again. I got in not a good place, and I felt that the past week and a half, two weeks, and that that’s also a big part of why I’m here right now talking about this.
Press: 12:58 You said that quite a few times just in different references. I mean, this game does require you to put yourself second oftentimes. Right? I mean, just having putting the team first and that sort of thing, which is what you have to do. When you’ve done all that you’ve done, how were you able to reconcile all that? That’s a tough calculation, I guess, to make sometimes. Did you ever [crosstalk 00:00:13:22]-
Andrew Luck: 13:21 Reconcile that right now or in the past?
Press: 13:23 No, no, no, over the years, I mean, over the years, yo know?
Andrew Luck: 13:25 Yeah, no, look I… yeah-
Press: 13:27 [crosstalk 00:13:27] it’s about team, I got to put myself second, or just, you know?
Andrew Luck: 13:31 No. I guess in my mind I never looked at it as me or the team. I’m part of the team and do my best for the team and I’ll do my best for myself in a sense. I mean, it’s the greatest team game in the world. I’ve loved being in that locker room. It’s truly been the honor of a lifetime to suit up next to many of those guys and that’s part of what makes us very, very, very difficult.
Press: 14:01 Andrew-
Speaker 4: 14:01 A couple more.
Trap : 14:01 [crosstalk 00:14:01] on a negative, but all that you’ve meant to the team and the city and the stunningness of the decision, any reaction of the fans? Did you hear reaction when you walked off the off the field?
Andrew Luck: 14:14 Yeah, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I heard the reaction.
Trap : 14:16 [inaudible 00:14:16], I’m just curious.
Andrew Luck: 14:18 Yeah, it hurt. I’ll be honest, Trap. It hurt.
Press: 14:21 [inaudible 00:14:21] to reconcile with the fact that you didn’t get your fair chance necessarily in this league?
Andrew Luck: 14:28 You know what-
Press: 14:28 [crosstalk 00:14:28] this is how it ends, [crosstalk 00:14:29]-
Andrew Luck: 14:28 Yeah, I certainly feel like I got my fair chance and I’m very grateful for every snap that I got to take and the lows and learn from them and the highs and then all the positive things that happened in this building that I got to be a part of. I don’t hold any resentment, I guess, in that way. I do feel like I got a fair chance and I tried to make the most of my chance and right now my journey just doesn’t include football going forward. I’m, again, so grateful to have… I’ll feel like a Colt forever. I know I will. I’m so grateful, again, for the Irsay family, for Frank, Chris, everybody in that locker room that I’ve got a chance to take the field with. It’s truly been the honor of a lifetime, and I understand the suddenness and maybe the surprise behind it. I really do, but I also know I have so much clarity about my next steps moving forward.I’m so excited for this team. It’s a great team.
Press: 15:36 Andrew, steps going forward as being a father. How much has that factored into this?
Andrew Luck: 15:42 Yeah, not really.
Female: 15:46 I know it’s a bit of an unusual situation, but how much do you anticipate, you mentioned how much you love this franchise, how much they mean to you, being around still… You know, the season’s about to start. What are your plans? Take a full backseat or do you plan on being around?
Andrew Luck: 15:57 No, I’m friends with so many guys in this locker room. I mean, we live here. This is our home, so support the guys the way I can, and I certainly need to rehab and get feeling good. Yeah, I’ve got some folks that I need to call and thank them. It might be a late night on the phone with some friends and some crying and laughing and some teammates. I guess before I get off I should also think those of you who have covered me for most of my career, all of my career. I appreciate getting to come to work and talk to you guys and gals every now and then and I guess a small part of me will miss you as well.
Press: 16:46 [crosstalk 00:16:46] go now.
Andrew Luck: 16:47 But thank you. I very much appreciate it. Mr. Irsay, Chris, Frank, Irsay family, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Good night.