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.''
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen(back) continues to be a top performer at his position in 2019. Despite not having a touchdown catch thus far, the veteran has still racked up 10 receptions (18 targets) for 146 yards. With the struggling Cam Newton (foot) possibly unable to play, Olsen has a chance to get some looks from potential starter Kyle Allen on Sunday against a lousy Cardinals Defense. The 36-year-old can still be found on waivers in some leagues and is worth a start (if he plays), especially in Week 3, regardless of who is under center. Keep an eye on his status.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel may have to play without quarterback Cam Newton (foot) against the Cardinals. With the veteran signal-caller still without a touchdown toss on the year, Samuel may actually benefit without Newton in the lineup in Week 3. Throughout two starts in 2018, Kyle Allen, who is projected to take over if Newton isn't available, made Samuel a priority during his time under center as he led the team in looks while finishing with nine receptions (17 targets) for 113 yards and a score. As a result, Samuel should be on the minds of fantasy managers as his outlook is favorable against a weak Cardinals Defense on Sunday despite having an inexperienced quarterback.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore will look to keep things going on Sunday in Arizona. Moore has been one of the focal points for Carolina this season, currently leading the team in targets (24), receptions (16), and receiving yards (165). Despite the potential start of sophomore quarterback Kyle Allen, who would fill in for Cam Newton (foot) if he is unable to go, Moore will still likely produce. The 22-year-old racked up six receptions (15 targets) for 100 yards with Allen under center in 2018. He should remain a starter in a majority of fantasy leagues even if Newton isn't able to suit up on Sunday against a lousy Cardinals Defense.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey will surely rebound in Week 3 against the Cardinals. After a dismal performance against the Buccaneers that saw the 23-year-old rush for just 37 yards on 16 attempts, the Panthers will next square off with one of the lousiest defensive teams in the league on Sunday. With the Cardinals allowing a league-worst 30.38 fantasy points per game to opposing backs this season, McCaffrey is a must-start in all fantasy formats in addition to being featured in daily contests. Get him in your lineup.
Detroit Lions RB Paul Perkins is learning his new team's playbook this week, and he is excited about the chance and wants to be explosive. 'I'm going to go home and look over some stuff,' he said Wednesday, Sept. 18. 'But the offense seems pretty dope and it seems it can get a lot of guys the ball.'
Fantasy Spin: Initially Perkins is likely to see a bulk of his action on special teams, where he has excelled. He missed the 2018 season due to a pectoral injury. For now, avoid Perkins in all fantasy formats, but stash the name away. He might not be quite done yet, and could re-emerge as a fantasy option if injuries strike in the Motor City.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Shaquil Barrett earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his three-sack performance in Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers.
New Orleans Saints QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill will both play in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks, with head coach Sean Payton declining to name a starter Wednesday, Sept. 18.
Fantasy Spin: Bridgewater is likely to play more snaps, with Hill subbing in for his regular assortment of Wildcat formation plays, especially in short-yardage situations and plays near the goal line. For those looking for a streaming option in fantasy, Bridgewater is certainly the better bet.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is in line to have a big day Sunday when the Lions take on the Eagles in Philadelphia. Golladay is coming off a 117-yard, one-touchdown performance and should be able to build off those numbers against a leaky Eagles secondary. Through the first two games of the season, the Eagles have already allowed three 100-yard receiving performances and six passing touchdowns and are seemingly not able to stop anything through the air. That bodes well for Golladay's chances in this matchup. Golladay can be considered a solid WR2 and has a very good opportunity to exceed the 100-yard mark for a second straight game.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr failed to capitalize in a juicy Week 2 matchup, making him difficult to trust with a grimmer task ahead in Week 3. The team will travel to take on a stout Vikings Defense who finished third-best in 2018 giving up 196 passing YPG. Carr has looked more comfortable overall in year two under Head Coach John Gruden, but the deck is stacked against him this week as eight-point underdogs. He could save face with some late garbage time points, but he shouldn't be relied upon in any fantasy format in Week 3.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. Smith got his legs caught underneath him at the end of the Week 2 loss to the Rams and could be questionable for Week 3 against the Seahawks. The 23-year-old has only five receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown through two weeks and is fourth in the pecking order behind Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn and Jared Cook, making him extremely inconsistent for fantasy owners in much deeper leagues. With Teddy Bridgewater now at quarterback with Drew Brees (thumb) out at least six weeks, Smith should be planted on benches where he's owned.
Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller has displayed a positive chemistry between himself and quarterback Derek Carr, and it should only grow stronger throughout the season. He currently leads the team with 13 catches and 15 targets through two games while showing a slick pair of hands and a dynamic athletic ability. With the Raiders playing a tough road contest this week versus the Vikings, Waller's ceiling isn't as high, but he should see plenty of volume as eight-point underdogs. Minnesota gave up a 9/77/0 line to Falcons tight end Austin Hooper in Week 1 while they played catch-up, giving Waller a projection somewhere in this neighborhood for Week 3.
The Oakland Raiders acquired wide receiver/kick returner Trevor Davis from the Packers on Wednesday, according to a source. The speed demon is one of the league's better punt and kick returners and should compete for a spot on the receiver depth chart in Oakland. The 26-year-old had just one catch for 28 yards in two games this year in Green Bay and has nine receptions for 122 yards and one touchdown in 29 career games played. He'll mainly be used on special teams in his new home and can be ignored for fantasy purposes unless you're in a really deep league that counts return yardage.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will look to rebound after a so-so Week 2 performance when the Lions take on the Eagles in Week 3. Stafford faces an Eagles secondary that has allowed 680 yards through the first two weeks of the season, which places them just above the Raiders for second-most yards allowed through the air. He has also thrown the ball a healthy 75 times through two games, and this matchup is lining up to follow that trend. Stafford's floor can be considered in the high-upside QB2 range this week in a matchup where he should have no problem moving the ball.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (knee) and kicker Michael Badgley (groin) were both limited in practice on Wednesday. Allen should be fine to play in Week 3 against the Texans against a secondary that consistently gets burned deep. The Chargers top wideout ranks third in the NFL after two games with 25 total targets. Allen is a top-five fantasy receiver this Sunday. Badgley has yet to kick in a game this year but is getting closer to making his season debut. He can't be trusted in fantasy until he proves his health. Ty Long has been filling in but has made just two of his four field-goal attempts, including two big misses in the Week 2 loss to the Lions.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (concussion, wrist) has a broken wrist that could require surgery, according to a source. Njoku was also knocked out of the Monday night game after suffering a concussion. He is seeking more opinions to determine if surgery is necessary and how long he'd be sidelined if he goes under the knife. It's a tough break for Njoku's owners, as they'll be without him for multiple weeks at least. Demetrius Harris is Cleveland's backup tight end, but he's unlikely to become a big part of the weekly game plan. Quarterback Baker Mayfield takes a slight hit in value, while wide receiver Jarvis Landry could be used more underneath and in the middle of the field.
Los Angeles Rams C Austin Blythe (ankle) and TE Tyler Higbee (chest) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 18. RB Malcolm Brown (ankle) and DT Aaron Donald (back) were limited during practice.
San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (ankle), DE Dee Ford (quadriceps), S Jaquiski Tartt (ankle), WR Jalen Hurd (back), OT Joe Staley (leg) and WR Trent Taylor (foot) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Sept. 18. DE Nick Bosa (ankle) and S Jimmie Ward (hand) were limited during practice.
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson could be in line for a big Week 3 performance against an ailing Philadelphia Eagles squad. Johnson should be able to do some damage through the air against an Eagles Defense that has allowed 15 receptions to running backs through the first two weeks of the season, and with Eagles defensive tackle Tim Jernigan sitting out this week, finding holes on the ground will be an easier task as well. Johnson has the chance to see an expanded workload after the recent release of C.J. Anderson and will slot in as a high-upside RB2 in what could be a shootout at the Linc.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen is trending toward starting over Cam Newton (foot) in Week 3 against the Cardinals. Newton aggravated a foot injury he initially suffered in the preseason and missed practice on Wednesday. He was also seen in a walking boot, so it's looking doubtful that he plays this Sunday in Week 3. If Newton is inactive, it'll be a downgrade to all Panthers receivers, while running back Christian McCaffrey will likely be heavily utilized to take pressure off Allen. Even in a good matchup with Arizona's soft secondary, Allen would be a last-gasp QB2 for fantasy purposes.
Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett (non-injury) was limited during practice Wednesday, Sept. 18.
Fantasy Spin: Lockett caught 10 of his 12 targets last week and finished with 79 yards. He will continue to be the main target in the passing game for the Seahawks and can be a No. 2 or No. 3 fantasy receiver.