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.''
Sunday Morning Update: Week 2
New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead saw plenty of chances in the Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He was the primary receiving back with James White (personal) inactive for this game. Burkhead rushed six times for two yards and caught four of six targets for 47 yards through the air. It was a nice uptick for Burkhead, but he won't be on the fantasy radar going forward. James White is expected to be back for their matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was doing everything he could versus the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. He caught eight of 11 targets for 179 receiving yards in the loss. He has been held scoreless through the first two games, but this performance was a step in the right direction. The Patriots don't have many weapons, so they will likely continue to lean on Edelman going forward. He should be considered a high-end WR3 versus the Las Vegas Raiders next week.
New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry is looking like he is primed for a breakout campaign in 2020. He hauled in eight of his 12 targets for 72 yards during the Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Harry saw the most targets on the team and tied with Julian Edelman for the most receptions. He should continue to be heavily involved in this offense going forward. Fantasy owners should be able to count on him as a flex option for next week against the Las Vegas Raiders.
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton continued his positive play versus the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. He completed 30 of 44 passing attempts for 397 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Newton also rushed 11 times for 47 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. He was almost able to lead his team to a comeback victory, but was stopped on the goal line. Newton has looked sharp during the first two games of the season. He'll get a favorable matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3. Fantasy owners should be able to continue to lean on Newton for that one.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel was unable to get anything going on the ground versus the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. He rushed seven times for 19 yards in the loss. The Patriots basically abandoned the running game in the second half, so Michel didn't see many chances after the second quarter. He'll get a matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3, but fantasy owners should consider Michel a touchdown dependent RB3 right now.
Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins played efficiently for the second straight week in a loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. Haskins completed 19-of-33 passes for 223 yards and one touchdown and didn't throw an interception for the second consecutive week. He did lose a fumble, but Haskins has just one turnover through two games which was an issue for him as a rookie. He won't put up the flashiest stats, but Haskins seems to be a quality QB2 in fantasy. He'll have a good matchup with Cleveland in Week 3 where he should be started in two-quarterback leagues.
The Carolina Panthers Defense allowed 31 points to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 2 loss. To make matters worse, Carolina didn't record a sack, but they did manage to pick up a fumble recovery and an interception. There may not be many promising days with this unit this year in fantasy, though there may be some weeks where they could be streamed. Perhaps they could be streamed in Week 3 against the Chargers, depending upon who they declare as their starting quarterback.
Carolina Panthers kicker Joey Slye made his lone field-goal attempt and both his extra-points in a Week 2 loss. Slye made the most of his opportunities, considering the limited amount of chances in the red zone. The 24-year-old has been efficient so far, making all four field-goals and missing just one extra-point. Slye should continue to be a solid, starting option for fantasy managers when he takes on the Chargers in Week 3.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson handled 13 carried for 55 yards and his first career touchdown in a loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. Gibson only had one catch for minus-three yards in the passing game, but it was good to see the rookie more involved than Week 1. Gibson's 13 carries were five more than anyone on the team and he was the one handling the red zone touches. Gibson is in a great spot to break out next week against a Browns Defense that's been gashed thus far in 2020.
Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas wasn't targeted in a Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thomas has sleeper potential but completely disappeared in the gameplan, as he inexplicably didn't see a pass thrown his way. This comes a week after he saw two targets in the first game of the season. He could be a streamer down the line, but there's no way to justify using him in any format for fantasy football right now.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Keelan Cole posted six catches for 58 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans on seven targets.
Fantasy Spin: Cole averaged just 9.7 yards per reception, but he was still very productive. He is worth a look as a WR5 in most fantasy leagues, with a little more value in PPR formats, heading into Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel was targeted just twice against the Buccaneers, though he also had four carries for 26 rushing yards. Samuel did see eight targets in Week 1, but other than that, he has been disappointing so far. One positive to take from this game is that the Panthers utilized him more as a runner, which is something that could add a lot of diversity to their offense. That's a role Samuel could play if Christian McCaffrey (ankle) is forced to miss time. Unfortunately, Samuel will be hard to trust in fantasy lineups until he proves he can produce with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
New York Jets WR Braxton Berrios caught six of his eight targets for 59 yards and a touchdown in a 31-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Jamison Crowder was inactive for the contest, and Breshad Perriman and Chris Hogan both suffered injuries. Berrios could have flex value as the best receiver still standing for the Jets, especially if Crowder remains sidelined.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. registered four receptions for a game-high 84 yards on four targets in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans.
Fantasy Spin: Chark was unable to find the end zone like in Week 1, but his fantasy production was about the same with the big bump in receiving yardage. He remains a solid WR3 or flex fantasy option in leagues of 12 or more teams heading into Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday.
New York Jets TE Chris Herndon caught one of his four targets for five yards in a 31-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: After catching six passes in the opener, Herndon was almost blanked in Week 2, and he is averaging just 6.0 yards per reception so far this season. Outside of dynasty formats, Herndon doesn't need to be rostered.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson looked great for the second consecutive game. Anderson caught nine of 10 targets for 109 receiving yards in a loss to Tampa Bay. The 27-year-old has been targeted an impressive 18 times in two games and has been very efficient with his looks. Anderson comes with some weekly risk because of how deep he's usually targeted. However, if he continues to see this kind of volume, he'll have no trouble smashing his ADP. Up next is a matchup with the Chargers, who struggled to contain Chiefs' deep-threat Tyreek Hill.
New York Jets RB Frank Gore became the oldest running back in NFL history to record at least 20 carries, rushing 21 times for 63 yards in a 31-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: With Le'Veon Bell sidelined, Gore assumed a workhorse role. He should remain the lead back while Bell is out, but he only has so much upside in the Jets' struggling offense. At best, he is a volume-based flex option.
Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis caught all eight of his targets for 74 receiving yards against Tampa Bay in Week 2. Davis did his best Christian McCaffrey (ankle) impression after the star back left with an ankle injury and was pretty convincing as a receiver out of the backfield. Eight targets is nothing to sneeze at- if McCaffrey's injury is more serious than the team believes, Davis could be a nice waiver wire pickup, particularly in PPR formats.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold completed 21 of his 32 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown in a 31-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: The Jets have been a mess on offense to start the year, and Darnold is averaging under 200 yards passing through two games. He isn't even a QB2 candidate at this point.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey carried the ball 18 times for 59 yards with two touchdowns and caught four of five targets for 29 receiving yards in a Week 2 loss to the Buccaneers. McCaffrey left the game with an ankle injury and will have an MRI on Monday, though the team is optimistic that it's not too serious. If McCaffrey is able to suit up against the Chargers, he'll obviously be in fantasy lineups. However, backups Mike Davis and Trenton Cannon would pick up the slack in the event that he's unable to play. Stay tuned for the results of his MRI.