Sun Aug 25 2:11pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck shakes hands with Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay after a news conference following the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, left, and owner Jim Irsay, second from left, listen as Colts quarterback Andrew Luck speaks during a news conference following the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard speaks during a news conference after the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced that he his retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The injured ankle of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is seen as he speaks during a news conference following the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich speaks as team owner Jim Irsay listens following a news conference after the Colts' NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced that he his retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck speaks during a news conference following the team's NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andrew Luck was unique.
He loved football. He loves life even more.
So when the 29-year-old Luck thought another long, laborious comeback journey jeopardized his future plans, he believed walking away from the sport and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars was the only logical choice.
''For the last four years or so, I've been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab - injury, pain, rehab - and it's been unceasing, unrelenting, both in season and off season,'' Luck said following Saturday night's loss to the Chicago Bears. ''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.''
The announcement and the timing - two weeks before the Indianapolis Colts' season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers - shocked the football world.
But this was not a spur of the moment decision.
After three injury-plagued seasons, Luck returned last year with a new perspective about the physical pain, mental fatigue and emotional agony it took to keep fighting his way back. Late last summer, he described his state of mind throughout the continual rehab with words such as `sad,' `miserable' and `scared.'
Last month, as the lingering pain in his lower left leg forced him off the practice field yet again, Luck told reporters he promised himself after playing through the shoulder pain in 2016 and missing the entire 2017 season, he would be honest with himself, his coaches, teammates and the organization about how his body felt.
At the time, Luck said he thought even limited practices were detrimental to himself and the team.
While some fans booed Luck as he left the field Saturday night, other players supported him. They understand how dangerous and debilitating the sport can be, which is why some are quitting at earlier ages.
Luck just happens to be the biggest name yet on that expanding list.
''I think it takes an immense amount of courage, an immense amount of self-reflection and a lot of guts to do what he is doing,'' Houston defensive end J.J. Watt said. ''I am sure people have their ways of looking at it and their ways of trying to say what they would do in his shoes. But the truth is, no one is in his shoes. Nobody has to go through what he has had to go through. Nobody has been through the rehab and the injuries. ... I respect the hell out of it. I think it takes a whole lot to walk away from a ton of money like that.''
Colts owner Jim Irsay estimates Luck could have made as much as $500 million if he lasted as long as Brett Favre, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, Luck's predecessor.
But Luck was never in it for the money or the fame - like others who left the game on their terms and in their prime.
Barry Sanders retired at age 31 after winning four NFL rushing titles and within reach of breaking Walter Payton's career rushing record. At age 30, Calvin Johnson called it quits after his sixth straight Pro Bowl appearance. Jim Brown walked away at age 30 for a budding movie career, less than a year after winning his third and final MVP award.
They never came back, and Luck said he doesn't anticipate a return, either, though he's young enough to do it.
Many others, such as Hall of Famers Gale Sayers and Terrell Davis, were forced out by injuries or age.
Luck seems to be a combination of the two, largely the result of a porous offensive line that allowed the top overall draft pick in 2012 to take more hits than any quarterback in the league during his first five seasons.
He was good enough to lead the Colts to playoff appearances in each of his first three seasons, the 2014 AFC Championship game and orchestrate the second-largest comeback in playoff history. And when he returned healthy last season, he took the Colts back to the playoffs and was a runaway winner in the league's Comeback Player of the Year award balloting.
It just wasn't enough for Luck.
''We all expect we're going to play this game forever,'' Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. ''The reality is for most players, it's not very long. No matter how good we are, or whatever it may be, there's life after this game, too. I think that's a thing we always have to balance and always have to weigh.''
Luck is the sixth quarterback of the 11 selected in 2012 out of football.
Wilson and Nick Foles, both third-round picks that year, own Super Bowl rings. Kirk Cousins, a fourth-rounder, is the starter in Minnesota.
The other two still around - Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill - had promising careers derailed by injuries, too. Griffin, the No. 2 pick who played high school football in Texas like Luck and beat Luck out for the 2011 Heisman Trophy award, is fighting for a roster spot in Baltimore. Tannehill, the No. 8 pick, is the backup to Marcus Mariota in Tennessee.
Luck didn't want to spend more countless hours in the training room now that he's married and will soon become a father.
He'd rather travel the world, watch soccer, put his architectural degree from Stanford to use and suggest good reads for the Andrew Luck Book Club. Perhaps he will come back to football one day. Or maybe he'll choose a new career.
''To step back away from this thing, I honor him. I think a lot of his family, I think a lot of his father, I think a lot of what he's brought to football and wish him nothing but the very best.'' Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. ''I hope he becomes President of the United States.''
But after throwing 171 touchdown passes and for nearly 24,000 yards, Luck found football simply wasn't worth the cost.
''I'm exhausted - and quite tired,'' he said during an emotional farewell speech. ''The only way forward is to remove myself from this cycle.''
Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright had to be visited by the trainers after Alvin Kamara's touchdown run on Sunday, but he told the media after the game that he was fine. Wright said he just got the wind knocked out of him, and he should be good to go. That's a breath of fresh air for Seattle, who were saddled with their first loss of the season. Though New Orleans tallied 33 points, nowhere near all the blame hangs on the defense since 14 of those points were scored on a scoop-and-score fumble and a punt return. The Seattle defense did struggle to contain Kamara, but that's hardly a rare problem. With the whole squad healthy, the Seahawks Defense should be pretty solid moving forward.
Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly was on the right end of a reception once again as he was the chosen one for the team's final garbage-time touchdown of the game on Sunday. Dissly was targeted seven times, caught six passes, and tallied 62 yards in the game, exact copies of his season stats coming into the matchup. The rainy conditions seemed to make Dissly more appealing to quarterback Russell Wilson, and it looks like he trusts that Dissly is a solid release valve when he finds himself in trouble. Be wary of Seattle's knack for letting certain receivers go to rot quickly after they look great, but for now, Dissly could be a real part of the offense moving forward.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf continued his impressive run on Sunday as he snagged a 54-yard bomb just before halftime. Metcalf was a little quieter the rest of the day, partially due to rain and constant slipping on the field, but he's now caught a pass of 25+ yards in all three games of his young career. Metcalf was targeted six times in the game, and while he only caught two of the passes, he at least made those ones count. The coaching staff seems to love having Metcalf across from Tyler Lockett, so it looks like he's in for a pretty solid year as the team's No. 2 receiver.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver David Moore finally got into the action for the first time on Sunday, but he only caught one pass on the afternoon. As expected, Moore's catch was a nifty one that featured him coming back and around a defender to be able to reach the wet, slippery ball, but the lack of chances continues to limit his potential. Moore was initially pegged as the team's likely No. 2 receiver, but it looks like everyone's infatuated with D.K. Metcalf so far, so Moore's looking more like he'll be battling for table scraps. His incredible acrobatics will allow him to make highlight reels often, but it doesn't look like he'll be hitting box scores as regularly.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson busted a big 23-yard bruiser of a run early in Sunday's game against the Saints, but after that, he was nearly silent. Carson finished with just 15 carries for 53 yards and one reception out of the backfield. Carson's lack of use was due to a combination of the score, where Seattle was getting pounded for the majority of the game, and a costly fumble that turned into a defensive touchdown in the first half. This is the third game in a row where Carson has coughed up the ball in a terrible way, and that's a bad sign for his long-term prospects in Seattle.
Given the chance to be the team's No. 2 for the week, Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise didn't make much noise. With running back Rashaad Penny (hamstring) out on Sunday, Prosise got his chance to remind everyone why Seattle has put up with his annual injuries. Instead, he tallied just five yards on four carries. He did catch five passes out of the backfield to rack up 38 yards, but most of that came on one 21-yarder. Penny's injury isn't considered serious, and he's currently expected to play in Week 4. For now, it looks like Prosise will continue to have to sit tight because he's not putting any pressure on anyone ahead of him in the depth chart.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett had the biggest receiving day of his NFL career on Sunday as he caught 11 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown in the team's loss to New Orleans. He also just missed a second touchdown pass on an errant throw that was a little out of his reach. Lockett came up huge for quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks throughout the game, snagging balls left and right to keep the team in it when they were down big. The game doubled up Lockett's catches and targets on the season, and he's now averaging more than 90 yards receiving per game. Lockett looks like he's well on his way to topping 1,000 yards this season, and he should have a handful of touchdowns in the bank as well.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson put up huge numbers in Sunday's loss against the Saints. Wilson completed 32 passes on 50 attempts for 406 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also carried the ball seven times and ran in a pair of touchdowns, including one where he straight muscled through a Saints defender. The explosion of passing attempts was due to the fact that Seattle trailed by a hefty margin for the majority of the game after a series of bad breaks early on. That said, this is the second straight game where Wilson has tallied up sizable QB numbers. Perhaps Seattle is willing to let him use some of his magic moving forward.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin had a step on two defenders with two minutes left and the team trailing by seven points, but he couldn't hold on to the throw that hit him in both hands. Quarterback Philip Rivers had laid it out in the perfect spot where only Benjamin could reach it, but it was gone in an instant as it started to slip out of his hands and a slap on the elbow from a Texans defender ensured it couldn't be snagged. Instead, Benjamin finished with just two catches for five yards, and the Chargers fell to 1-2 on the season.
Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Brandon Mebane got after quarterback Deshaun Watson on Sunday and was able to nail down his third career sack as a member of the Chargers organization. Mebane is in his fourth year with the team, and he's now garnered 18.5 sacks in his 13-year career. Unfortunately, the work of Mebane and the rest of the Chargers Defense wasn't up to the task as the team fell to the Texans. The Chargers defense has shown a real difficulty in making halftime adjustments so far, as they've been nailed for 45 points in the second halves of their three games this year while only giving up 21 points in the first halves. Conditioning is one of the things that can be drained by injuries, so perhaps this is related to the missing members.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams caught three passes for 45 yards on Sunday, including a critical one to give the team a chance to tie the game right at the end. Unfortunately, the team fell short. Williams has clearly shown he's got the talent to succeed in the NFL, but it's becoming clear that quarterback Philip Rivers' rapport with Keenan Allen is going to trump just about everything else. Williams is still a big body that can get open, but Rivers is clearly looking Allen's way on every route. At this point, it appears Williams is entirely dependent on catching an odd TD here and there.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen had the best game of his career on Sunday against the Texans as he amassed a whopping 183 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Allen was targeted 17 times and caught 13 of the passes, but it wasn't enough to lead the Chargers to victory. Allen's two touchdowns included a 12-yard score that featured a nifty juke to get around a defender, and he's now accumulated three touchdowns dramatically faster than in any other season. With the Dolphins on the horizon, Allen could be on his way to a career year.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson got a few more chances on Sunday in the passing game, but he did nothing with them. Jackson was thrown four passes this week while he hadn't been thrown more than a single one in either of the other two games this year, but he totaled a whopping four yards on those completions. He also only ran the ball five times, the fewest times in a game this year, but he still averaged more than 5.0 YPC. Jackson is clearly playing second fiddle, but the team's offensive gameplan in this game seemed lost anyway. Hopefully, they can right the ship, and he can get back to the change-of-pace role where he excels.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett had just two catches for 15 yards in Week 3. Those were the only two targets he saw filling in for Tyler Higbee (lung). Everett isn't worth consideration against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week in traditional leagues.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald had four tackles (three solo) and his first sack of the season in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns. Donald started out slowly the first two weeks, but he delivered in this affair. He has another positive outlook against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4. He's worth starting in individual defensive player formats.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler was a bit of a non-factor in Sunday's game against the Texans. Though he made a couple nice pick-ups on key third downs, he also got stopped short on a couple important downs and only touched the ball 16 times all game. Just nine carries on the ground yielded 36 yards, and while he caught seven passes, they only amassed another 45 yards and no scores. It's unclear why the Chargers decided to move away from their most productive running back and instead force quarterback Philip Rivers to throw the ball downfield more, resulting in five sacks, but hopefully this was just a one-time blip in their gameplan.
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed 14 times for 43 yards in a quiet Week 3 outing against the Cleveland Browns. He was targeted once through the air, but he had no completions. He'll have a tough matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week. The Bucs have been among the stingiest defenses against running backs the first three weeks. Gurley is still a low-end RB1, but his upside is waning at this point with his reduced usage.
Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown rushed just three times for seven yards in Week 3. It was a tough day overall for the running game as the team rushed 24 times to 38 pass attempts. Brown has done little in the last two games after a two-touchdown opener. He has a tough matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week, and at this point, he's just a handcuff to Todd Gurley.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chad Beebe (ankle) was carted to the locker room in the third quarter of Sunday's 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. Beebe didn't have a target in the contest. Olabisi Johnson stepped in as the third receiver in his absence - we should get an update on the severity of Beebe's ankle injury on Monday.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 31 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday as the Chargers fell to the Houston Texans. LA continued to struggle in the second half of ballgames, and Rivers was sacked five times on the day. The 46 passing attempts were the most Rivers has had in a regular season game since Week 1 of 2018, and Rivers hasn't won a single game in the last five years when he's thrown the ball 45 or more times. Whether LA wins or loses, Rivers has the ability to put up gaudy numbers, so he'll be valuable no matter how the season goes for the underperforming Chargers.