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FFL: Week 2 | NFL: Week 2

Luck finds cost of football too pricey to continue career

Sun Aug 25 2:11pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer

Players: Tom Brady, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Marcus Mariota

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.''

Player Notes
Matt Ryan Sep 16 4:40am ET

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had an up-and-down game on Sunday night against the Eagles. Despite throwing for 320 yards and three touchdowns, the veteran also tossed three picks that nearly led to Atlantas second loss of the season. Nonetheless, Ryan was able to shine when it counted most and connected on a 54-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. With five touchdowns and five interceptions on the year, Ryan will look to get on track against the Colts in Week 3. Keep him starting.

From RotoBaller

John Brown Sep 16 4:00am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown pulled in seven of his eight targets for 72 yards in the win over the Giants. For the second week in a row, Brown led the team in looks from quarterback Josh Allen. He should be on the radar in all fantasy leagues, regardless of format, as Brown and No. 2 wideout Cole Beasley will likely continue to gobble up most of the teams receptions. Look for him to keep it going against the Bengals in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Cole Beasley Sep 16 3:30am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley hauled in all four of his targets for 83 yards during the win over the Giants on Sunday. It was another relatively productive outing for Beasley, who has served as quarterback Josh Allens No. 2 receiving option behind John Brown by compiling nine receptions (13 targets) over the first two games of the season. With Robert Foster being a non-factor so far in 2019, look for the former Cowboy to continue to get his looks in the weeks ahead.

From RotoBaller

Frank Gore Sep 16 3:20am ET

Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore was the teams leading rusher during the Week 2 win over the Giants. While Devin Singletary got some touches, finishing with six runs for 57 yards and a touchdown, the 36-year-old also left a favorable impression by logging 19 carries for 68 yards and a score of his own. With Singletary injuring his hamstring in the fourth quarter, Gores fantasy stock could rise in the weeks ahead if the rookie isnt able to suit up. Keep an eye on this situation as Gore, along with T.J. Yeldon, could get some extra work in Week 3 against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.

From RotoBaller

Josh Allen Sep 16 3:10am ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was productive during the Week 2 win over the Giants. Allen was efficient across the board on Sunday, throwing for 253 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 21 yards and a score on seven attempts. The sophomore has been impactful during his tenure in Buffalo and became the first Bill since Jim Kelly to throw for at least 200 yards in seven straight games. If Allen is available in your league, the upside is there, especially if you are in need of a signal-caller in deep, two-quarterback formats.

From RotoBaller

D.K. Metcalf Sep 16 3:10am ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf kept the good times rolling in Week 2 as he juggled and grasped his first NFL touchdown. With a beautiful pass dropped right in on his hands as he faded towards the back corner of the end zone, Metcalf made it exciting by bobbling the ball twice before securing it and getting both feet in-bounds. Metcalf has been a bit of a revelation earlier after everyone was positive he was just a workout warrior who wouldn't be able to cut it as a receiver in the league. It's certainly still early, but it looks like he might have the goods to be a solid No. 2.

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Jason Myers Sep 16 3:10am ET

Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers officially missed his first field goal attempt of the season on Sunday, but it was a 58-yarder, so no one's too upset. Myers did knock down a 46-yard kick in the second quarter, but it was negated by a penalty on Pittsburgh and later turned into a touchdown a couple plays later. Myers remained perfect on extra points, and he looks like he's still in fine form. Myers should be get plenty of field goal opportunities as the season rolls along, but for the team certainly won't be upset if he gets to pound through extra points at a nice clip too.

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Will Dissly Sep 16 3:10am ET

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly had a big day on Sunday as he brought down a pair of touchdowns against the Steelers. The second-year player generated some excitement last season before he went down with an injury, and he's already been on a couple injury reports this year but this is his potential. Dissly's catches were both on easy straight shots right up the middle of the field, and they looked a whole lot like the types of plays fans always thought would head to Jimmy Graham when he was wearing a Seahawks jersey. If Dissly can establish himself as a solid red zone option, he could see a lot of action for Seattle. He'll need to stay healthy first though.

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Chris Carson Sep 16 3:00am ET

The Seattle Seahawks were sitting pretty with a nine-point lead and less than six minutes left in the game when running back Chris Carson dropped the ball. Literally. With everyone in the stadium knowing that Seattle was just going to run out the clock, Carson simply missed grabbing the ball on a straight handoff when it was placed right in his gut. To make matters worse, the drop happened on the team's six yard-line. Pittsburgh recovered, scored on the next play, and Seattle fans chewed their nails as the team barely hung on to the win. This was Carson's second lost fumble of the game (though it was credited to Wilson, it was completely Carson's fault), and it's his third of the year. This is not a good trend.

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Tyler Lockett Sep 16 3:00am ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett got a bit of attention last week after he was only targeted twice in the squeaked out win against the Bengals, but this should clear up that concern. Unfortunately, Lockett wasn't able to reach the end zone on any of the catches, but 10 catches on 12 targets should certainly remind everyone that Lockett's still one of Wilson's most dependable and favorite targets. The addition of D.K. Metcalf has obviously gone well so far, but Lockett is still the team's safety blanket when they really need that critical first down. He should still see plenty of chances and scores this year.

From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Sep 16 2:50am ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 300 yards on Sunday, hitting the number for just the second time in the last two years. Wilson completed a whopping 82% of his passes, spread the ball around to eight different receivers, tacked on 22 yards rushing including a couple critical runs in the fourth quarter, and even acted as the lead blocker on a touchdown. Wilson continues to be dependable and deadly accurate, like his drop in the bucket on D.K. Metcalf's touchdown catch, and he's well on his way to another strong season. Seattle's offense is always an adventure, but Wilson looks as solid as ever at the helm.

From RotoBaller

Rashaad Penny Sep 16 2:50am ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny may not get a ton of playing time, but he's certainly got his teammates on his side. Penny changed direction on a run and bounced it all the way to the other side of the line halfway through the third quarter. None other than Russell Wilson himself happened to be the only possible blocker hanging on that end of the line, so Wilson laid the wood as Penny scampered through the secondary and scored from 37 yards out. Penny tallied 25 more rushing yards on nine more carries, which wasn't terribly impressive, but he'll at least show up on highlight shows for being the lucky recipient of an elite QB clearing a path for him.

From RotoBaller

Adrian Phillips Sep 16 2:40am ET

Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward was able to land his first interception of the season on Sunday as he snatched a deep pass to end Detroit's first offensive possession of the second half. The good news was that the defense held the Lions to just 13 points, but there were some serious struggles. Detroit was without their starting left tackle, but LA recorded just one QB knockdown all game and was held without a sack. They also lost safety Adrian Phillips to what is believed to be a broken forearm, adding another injury to the ever-growing pile. The Chargers will need to seriously improve their pressure if they expect to beat teams with better offenses than the Lions.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Sep 16 2:30am ET

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers still threw for nearly 300 yards, but it was far from a strong performance. Rivers didn't throw for any touchdowns, and he got picked off on the team's final offensive play of the game, when he tried to force a pass into double coverage from 28 yards out. Rivers only completed 58% of his throws on the day, but fantasy owners shouldn't be terribly concerned just yet. He still has a host of weapons, he still puts up 300-yard days on the regular, and he's known to throw a few clunkers like this throughout a year. Don't be surprised if he tosses three TDs next week.

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Mike Williams Sep 16 1:50am ET

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams was a last-minute start due to a knee issue, but he played like it was no big deal. Williams hauled in three passes for 83 yards, and he told reporters after the game that he felt the injury was minor, would improve throughout the season, and wouldn't have to be managed. Williams is one of those No. 2 receivers that could be a solid No. 1 if given the shot, but the connection between Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen is untouchable. Williams will likely see some chances in the red zone throughout the season, but with the Chargers' bevy of offensive weapons, he's always going to be hit-or-miss from game to game.

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Keenan Allen Sep 16 1:50am ET

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen was a living embodiment of the team's close loss to the Lions on Sunday as he came oh-so-close to putting up big numbers for fantasy owners but fell just short. Allen finished the day with eight catches for 98 yards, including a grab on the team's first drive that left them on the two-yard line, a missed catch due to pass interference in the end zone in the third quarter, and a missed catch that was intercepted in the end zone at the end of the game. Allen is still clearly the man on the outside, and he's going to put up some huge numbers this year. Frustrating ones like this will happen though.

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Justin Jackson Sep 16 1:40am ET

Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson liked his performance so much in Week 1 that he decided to make a carbon copy of it in Week 2. Jackson rushed for 57 yards on six carries last week, and against the Lions on Sunday, he ran for 59 yards on seven carries. He also caught one pass for five yards after catching one pass for four yards in Week 1. Jackson has taken a clear back seat to Austin Ekeler, who has been one of the top performers in the entire league in the first two weeks, but Jackson has also recorded a run of 24 yards in Week 1 and 40 yards in Week 2. Anybody who can break off chunks like that is going to have a few go to the house.

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Christian Kirk Sep 16 1:30am ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk hauled in six grabs for 114 yards in the Week 2 loss against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday. He was targeted eight times in the game with his longest reception coming in at 34 yards. He'll have a tough draw next week against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are one of the better teams at defending the position and have yielded just one touchdown to receivers. Kirk will still be worth the WR3 start as quarterback Kyler Murray continues to impress.

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Kyler Murray Sep 16 1:30am ET

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was 25-for-40 for 349 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the Week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The 62.5 percent completion percentage was a step forward after completing just 53.7 percent of his passes in his first game. He rushed just three times for four yards, and he has just 17 yards rushing on the season. That aspect of his game has not developed yet, but he has thrown for more than 300 yards in both of his first two games. Murray has a tough matchup against the Carolina Panthers in Week 3. The Panthers are one of the best at defending the quarterback in fantasy. Murray is still worth a look if you're covering an injury, but he's best as a QB2 for now.

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Larry Fitzgerald Sep 16 1:30am ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had five catches for 104 yards in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens. More than half of that came on a 54-yard reception, though. He was targeted 11 times, which was the most of any Cardinals receiver. He might not have as much upside against the tough Carolina Panthers next week. However, he's still a decent WR3 in point-per-reception leagues.

From RotoBaller