The news shocked the NFL world on Saturday night.
Add Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians to the list of people who was shocked and surprised that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the NFL at the football young age of just 29.
As Arians stood at the podium following the Bucs’ practice on Sunday, he gave his thoughts and well-wishes toward the Indianapolis Colts’ now-retired single caller.
“Knowing his toughness, his mental toughness, this does surprise me,” Arians said. “Something has to be wrong somewhere, I know, because he loves the game so much. I did two of their games last year and he was running off of the bus to come say hi, to tell me about how the team was doing and the young receivers and how excited he was. So to see that, it was very disheartening.”
After a seven-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Arians took over as the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis, under head coach Chuck Pagano, prior to Luck’s rookie season in 2012. Arians would take over as the interim head coach just four games into the season when Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia and after a two-win season for the Colts the year prior, Arians and Luck rattled off a 9-3 record after a 2-2 start to clinch a playoff birth. Arians took home the first of his two NFL Coach of the Year Awards.
“I love Andrew like a son,” Arians said. “That rookie year was so special and all of the things that happened with Chuck that year made it even more special. I hope he finds what he’s looking for real soon. He’s a very, very bright young man so he’ll be building buildings or rocking politics, but I just wish him all the best.
Arians talked about where he was when he heard the report.
“I was watching the game,” Arians said. “I was watching the Florida game and I was really in shock. I know he’s been struggling with this recent injury but the last time I talked to him he was still fired up about the year and the team.”
Luck’s retirement was a surprising report on Saturday night, with the former first overall pick stating through a tearful press conference that his persistent injuries haven’t allowed him to live the life he’s wanted to live and that the consistent rehab has taken the joy out of the game for him. Luck missed nine games in 2015 and the entire 2017 season while dealing with concussions, a lacerated kidney, a partially torn abdomen and a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder along the way. Now on the heels of a lingering ankle issue that has kept him out for the entirety of the 2019 preseason, it’s apparently become overwhelming for the Pro Bowl quarterback.
“If you’ve battled injuries or sickness and gotten healthy and boom, you get it again. People who’ve beaten cancer and gotten it back and beat it again, it wears on you,” Arians said. “Now this isn’t as serious as cancer but for him it’s not knowing if he’ll ever throw again, it’s not knowing if he’ll ever run again. The constant rehab, and the separation from the team while you’re rehabbing, I think sometimes it’s really, really hard.