Two days after the news broke, the NFL world is still in shock over Andrew Luck’s retirement.
One of Luck’s most prominent contemporaries is not happy with how the ordeal has played out.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke with Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio on Monday and expressed “disgust” with how the news broke and the reaction Luck received from fans and some in media.
Rodgers: News leaking ‘a little disgusting’
"Well, the surprise was obviously the first emotion,” Rodgers said. " ... But I think the second is a little disgust, maybe, at the way that it was handled. Him getting booed, the word leaking out the way that it did, I thought that was a little disgusting because here's a guy who's making a quality of life decision.”
News of Luck’s retirement broke during the Indianapolis Colts’ preseason home game Saturday against the Chicago Bears on Saturday. Fans upset with Luck booed him as he walked off the field, and Luck was denied the opportunity to deliver the news on his own terms to his teammates and his fan base.
Backlash from Colts fans, fantasy players
Some expressed anger at Luck, ranging from bitter Colts fans upset at losing their franchise quarterback to fantasy football players angry having just drafted Luck hours or days prior to the news of his retirement.
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Rodgers took another approach, looking at Luck the husband and human being rather than Luck the football player, applauding him for making a life decision after football and a porous offensive line delivered a treacherous toll on his body that included a lacerated kidney, damaged ribs, a torn labrum and a mysterious lower leg injury that appeared to be the last straw.
The stout offensive line that would have protected Luck this season was assembled too late.
Rodgers: Luck should be ‘championed’
“I can totally relate to that, having a couple major injuries myself when you miss a ton of time,” Rodgers said. “Those are tough days. I think he should be championed and appreciated, given the praise he’s due for making the decision that’s in the best interest of himself, his wife, his family — his own personal quality of life.”
And while some fault Luck for the timing of his retirement, Rodgers applauds Luck for not milking paychecks on injured reserve.
"I think what he did was actually very unselfish," Rodgers said. "Does he not start the season? He could be on IR, and then he's cashing a paycheck from the Colts without playing.”
Luck’s retirement remains raw
Luck’s retirement was indeed shocking, and it elicited visceral, but mostly understandable reactions from across the football spectrum.
Colts fans — especially season ticket holders who paid a premium to watch what they had hoped was a Super Bowl contender — have every right to be upset. Should they have booed the quarterback they’ve cherished for the last seven seasons after he made a decision on his personal health and quality of life?
It’s not a great look, and one that the fanbase will likely come to regret. But it’s understandable that they’re upset.
Luck deserved better
Should the news have been handled better? Absolutely. Luck deserved to break the news on his own terms. He deserved to inform his teammates before they found out via breaking news alerts that trickled down to the sideline of a preseason game.
He deserved to look into a camera and explain his reasons to his fans before they heard the news from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Luck went about things the right way, informing Colts management first instead of blindsiding his employer in Magic Johnson-esque fashion.
Some are lashing out at Schefter, suggesting that he should have sat on the news to allow Luck his own process. This is wholly misguided. Schefter’s job is to report news, and not reporting this story would amount to dereliction of duty. Schefter was doing his job.
If anybody, the person who leaked the news should be the subject of ire, which appears to be the gist of Rodgers’ disgust.
The fact that Luck’s retirement remains the hottest topic in football nearly 48 hours after the news broke speaks to the enormity of his decision. Some of the immediate reactions were ugly, and the reactions to the reactions strident.
Maybe once things do eventually cool down, Luck will find peace in what was clearly an arduous decision and Colts fans will be able to appreciate what they had.
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