Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will keep his nearly $25million in bonus money despite retiring from the NFL. The 29-year-old fought back tears as he announced his departure at a press conference Saturday
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will keep his nearly $25million in bonus money despite retiring from the NFL just before his 30th birthday.
The Colts won’t go after a $12million roster bonus Luck received in March or a pro-rated portion of the $32million signing bonus he received in 2016 that could have amounted to another $12.8million, ESPN reports.
Luck reportedly reached a settlement with the team regarding the bonus money late last week, before he tearfully announced his retirement after Saturday night’s game.
He was booed off the field after reports emerged as many fans decried his decision to leave the sport despite the massive amounts of money he stood to earn, including $21million this season alone.
Colts owner Jim Irsay suggested that the injury-prone player would miss out on as much as $500million by ending his career so young.
Irsay also seemed to hint that the team has known about Luck’s impending retirement for longer than they let on.
Luck broke down as he revealed that he first thought about retiring about two weeks ago after having been ‘mentally worn down’ by a string of injuries across his career
‘I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. The only way forward for me is to remove myself from football,’ Luck said after watching his team’s preseason game in Indianapolis
Colts owner Jim Irsay (above with the quarterback on Saturday) seemed to hint that the team has known about Luck’s impending retirement for longer than they let on
At a press conference after the game, Luck revealed that he first thought about retiring about two weeks ago after having been ‘mentally worn down’ by a string of injuries across his career.
‘This is not an easy decision. It’s the hardest decision of my life, but it is the right decision for me,’ he said.
Luck said lingering pain and continual rehab have also taken away his love for the game.
‘I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. The only way forward for me is to remove myself from football,’ he stated.
The team privately insisted that they found out only this week, but Irsay’s explanation of talks with Luck painted a decidedly less sudden picture.
‘I again tried to be the best sounding board I could for him,’ Irsay told reporters.
‘As a father of children that are older than him, you know, life has its spiritual journey, people. I mean this is, you know, this stuff is kind of a “bigger than all of us” sort of issue.
‘I would never try to talk someone out of something that their heart truly wasn’t into. And so I was there to absolutely support him and counsel him. Big decisions, you hold off on it. As long as you can, hold off on them. And then when you have to make them, then you make them.’
Former Colts assistant coach Clyde Christensen also said he had an inkling that Luck’s time on the field may be coming to an end.
‘I stay in touch with him and kind of knew that he was contemplating it,’ Christensen told the Tampa Bay Times.
Colts coach Frank Reich also made comments back on August 14 that may have been a veiled reference to Luck’s future with the team.
‘By the end of the third preseason game, you have to know something,’ Reich said. ‘You have to be able to make a call and move from there in whether we’re full speed with Andrew after that third preseason game or if at that point we’re going with Jacoby. We’ll make that decision with that when the time comes.’
Luck went number one in the NFL draft in 2012 has been plagued by injuries throughout his professional career
Luck’s bombshell retirement news comes less than two weeks out from the start of the 2019 NFL season, which will kick off on Thursday September 5.
His decision to step down means he will not receive the millions remaining on the reported five-year $122million contract he signed back in 2016.
According to Sportrac, the star had $64million left on the contract, including a $6million roster bonus which was due to be paid in just three weeks time.
He is said to have earned a whopping $97.1million during his seven-year career with the Colts.
Luck watched Saturday’s preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana from the sideline due to an ankle injury.
As whispers of Luck’s retirement began to grow, fans in the crowd began to boo Luck as he sat at the side of the field.
During the subsequent press conference, the star admitted he heard the negative reaction from the crowd, which hurt him.
Luck was booed off the field on Saturday as fans decried his decision to leave the sport despite the massive amounts of money he stood to earn, including $21million this season alone
A fan holds up a sign that says: ‘Sat it’s not true Andrew!’ during Saturday night’s game
Luck has been plagued by injury on and off since he began playing for the Colts back in 2012.
He missed the entirety of the 2017 season following surgery on his shoulder during the off-season, with the quarterback position being filled by Jacoby Brissett, 26.
Brissett will now permanently replace Luck as the Colts’ QB.
In the press conference on Saturday, Luck admitted he initially felt jealousy when he watched Brissett assumed his position.
‘I was very jealous and resentful of this happy guy who was in my spot as a quarterback on my team,’ he candidly confessed, before later coming to feel happy for his replacement.
Luck returned last season and led the Colts back to the playoffs for the first time in four years, winning the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award.
But in March, he suffered a strained left calf, was held out of all of the team’s offseason workouts and returned on a limited basis for three practices at training camp in July.
Lingering pain forced him back to the sideline and the Colts later determined that he had an injury near the back of his left ankle.
Luck watched Saturday’s preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana from the sideline due to an ankle injury
Luck is pictured with his family family back in 2012 when he first signed on with the Colts
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith expressed his support for Luck’s decision on Sunday, stating that he understands why some football fans can’t fathom how someone could walk away from so much money.
Smith said those fans just can’t comprehend the physical toll football takes on players.
‘It’s hard for people to relate [to the damage to players bodies] because they put dollar signs in it,’ Smith told the Charlotte Observer.
‘It’s hard for someone to feel sorry for you because, “I work 18 hours a day and I’m making $10 an hour, and you’re making millions of dollars.’ That’s tough for people [to digest].’
‘But if your body’s hurting, your body’s hurting,’ Smith continued. ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re Mr [David] Tepper’ – the Panthers’ billionaire owner – ‘or a janitor. You know if you have the option [to retire], that’s simply life.
‘Football is a choice. It probably helps when you’ve made close to a hundred million dollars, but when you’re hurt, you’re hurt.’