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.''
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said that he expects cornerback Jalen Ramsey to play on Thursday night against the Titans. Ramsey's agent requested a trade on Monday night, and multiple teams are believed to have already made offers for the shutdown cornerback. Against a sluggish offense with a quarterback that very rarely beats defenses through the air, Jacksonville's defense/special teams is a low-end starting unit in Week 3. Ramsey is likely to cover Titans receiver Corey Davis throughout the game, making him a wideout to fade in DFS and season-long leagues.
New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian (ankle) will miss the rest of the season after an MRI exam on Tuesday on his left ankle revealed ligament damage that will require surgery, according to head coach Adam Gase. Siemian, starting in place of the sick Sam Darnold on Monday night against the Browns, was injured early in the second quarter when Myles Garrett fell on top of him with most of his weight. He was on crutches and in a walking boot after the game and will be placed on season-ending Injured Reserve. Third-stringer Luke Falk will start for however long Darnold is out. He'll be a bottom-barrel QB2 in Week 3 on the road against the Patriots.
New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) is listed as week-to-week after suffering a new injury in his Jets debut on Monday night against the Browns. Thomas caught only one pass before his injury on Monday for negative yards. It sounds like he won't be active in Week 3 against the Patriots, and he's not an attractive fantasy option with third-string quarterback Luke Falk now under center for the foreseeable future. When healthy, Thomas is the third receiver, at best, behind Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. No player other than running back Le'Veon Bell has much upside in this offense until Sam Darnold (illness) returns.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said that quarterback Marcus Mariota (quadriceps) will practice in full on Tuesday. On a short week going up a very respectable defense, Mariota is a last-gasp QB2 in two-QB leagues on Thursday night. Tennessee's offense remains a slow-paced, run-first unit and Mariota just is way too inconsistent with the passing work that he does get. He's attempted less than 30 passes in each of the first two games of the season.
NBC Sports Bay Areas Brian Witt believes the San Francisco 49ers should do whatever it takes to pursue Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Pro Bowl corner requested a trade on Monday and the Niners could be a great fit. With veteran cornerback Richard Sherman locking down one side, the addition of Ramsey would be a significant upgrade to the inconsistent Akhello Witherspoon or oft-injured Jason Verrett. The Jaguars are asking for at least a first-round pick and the Niners are already without their 2020 second-round selection, but Ramsey is just 24 and a proven NFL asset. With Ramsey and the emergence of rookie defensive end Nick Bosa, the 49ers would instantly vault into a fantasy-caliber defense. Even with defensive end Dee Ford (quad) banged up, the Niners may be a worthy streamer at home in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, with or without Ramsey.
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley (leg) suffered a broken left fibula in Week 2. Hes expected to miss six to eight weeks. The 35-year-old Staley is a lynchpin for the Niners strong offensive line and his absence could impair the teams running game, which annihilated the Cincinnati Bengals for 259 rushing yards last Sunday. Sixth-round rookie Justin Skule is expected to receive the start at left tackle in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Staleys injury impact may be far-reaching, running backs Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert still make for appealing RB2 and RB3/flex plays, respectively.
The New York Giants claimed rookie tight end Kaden Smith on Monday. Smith was waived by the San Francisco 49ers over the weekend to make room for running back Jeffery Wilson on the 53-man squad. The 2019 sixth-round pick was buried on the depth chart behind George Kittle, Ross Dwelley and Levine Toilolo in San Francisco and could immediately benefit on the talent-barren G-Men. The lost draft equity is costly for the Niners, but Smith was thoroughly outplayed during the preseason. Drafted out of Stanford, the catch-first tight end likely has significant strides to make before hes fantasy-relevant.
Updating previous reports, New York Jets QB Trevor Siemian (ankle) is out for the season.
Fantasy Spin: No surprise here, and Luke Falk becomes the de facto starter unless they make a trade. Avoid the situation entirely in fantasy.
After giving up a combined 102 points in their first two games, the Miami Dolphins Defense may now somehow be even worse in Week 3 when they travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys. The Fins achieved this level of pessimism by trading defensive back (and 2018 first-round selection) Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh on Tuesday for a package of draft picks highlighted by the Steelers first-round pick in 2020. By trading the only Fitzpatrick on the roster whose talent could possibly get in the way of their tanking, Miami virtually assured that every opponent they play this season will have a chance to light up the scoreboard. While the Miami defense shouldn't have been on anyone's radar in the first place, the trade of Fitzpatrick is still notable from a fantasy perspective as owners will no longer have to worry about their top receivers being shut down by the former Alabama standout. With a matchup against the high-powered offense of Dallas on the horizon, expect any Cowboy with a pulse to have a green light.
Dallas Cowboys free safety Xavier Woods (ankle) is expected to miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, according to a source. Woods is a key piece of Dallas' secondary, so this is a notable loss moving forward, although it's not likely to matter much in Week 3 with a putrid Dolphins offense coming to town. The Cowboys Defense/special teams is a must-start this Sunday and are an easy top-three fantasy option.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's (foot) Week 3 status against the Cardinals is up in the air after he aggravated a foot injury that he initially suffered in the preseason. Newton is rehabbing during practice on Tuesday. Cam hasn't looked good through two weeks, and perhaps his foot is the main reason why. He's run the ball five times in two games for a total of negative-two yards. His fantasy owners were really hoping he could bounce back this Sunday in a great matchup against the Cardinals, but it's looking like he might be extremely questionable. You better make plans now in case he's inactive. Either Kyle Allen or rookie Will Grier would start if Newton can't play, and the Panthers would likely feed the ball to running back Christian McCaffrey all day.
The good news is that Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant led the team in targets in a 43-0 loss to the Patriots on Sunday, with seven. The bad news is that he only caught three of those targets, finishing with just 22 yards. The worst news is that with the Dolphins down 37-0 in the fourth quarter, Grant missed his only opportunity for fantasy relevance, dropping a long pass from Josh Rosen that likely would've resulted in a 45-yard touchdown. But even if he had caught the pass, it still wouldn't change the fact that there are few reasons to roster Grant in Week 3 as the Dolphins pack it up and go on the road for the first time in 2019, traveling to Dallas to take on the 2-0 Cowboys.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams caught four of his six targets in Miami's 43-0 blowout loss to the Patriots on Sunday, ending with a total of 63 yards. While 48 of those yards came after the game was already out of hand in the second half, Williams was still Miami's most productive player on offense - even though that isn't exactly a difficult achievement. But even though he was Miami's best player on Sunday, it doesn't mean that he should find a home anywhere but in the deepest of fantasy leagues. With quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and his lack of magic leading a minor-league band of misfits into Dallas for a Week 3 matchup, leave Williams on the wire where he belongs.
New England Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn (toe) is considered week-to-week with turf toe, according to a source. His injury is not season-ending, however. With right tackle Marcus Cannon also injured, New England's offensive line has become a question mark moving forward. It's an upgrade to the Jets defensive line in Week 3, but fantasy owners won't be benching quarterback Tom Brady anytime soon. Marshall Newhouse is expected to take over at left tackle for however long Wynn is out.
Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy's (ankle) MRI exam showed no significant damage to his ankle and he has a shot to play in Week 3 against the Ravens, according to sources. Damien Williams was also injured in Week 2, so McCoy's fantasy value will depend on if Williams can play as well. As of now in a tough matchup with Baltimore, Shady will be more of an RB3/flex play. If Williams is inactive, undrafted rookie Darwin Thompson should see more work on passing downs, making him flex-worthy in deep PPR formats.
That inevitable moment has finally arrived. Head coach Pat Shurmur has named Daniel Jones the starting quarterback for the New York Giants. While many Giants fans will rightfully be excited by the move, it's important to temper expectations early on. Jones is going to be throwing to one of the league's worst collection of wide receivers on a team that will still allow running backSaquon Barkley to dominate the offensive game plan. Jones looked good in the preseason and can be fired up as a QB2 in certain matchups, but this doesn't lead to a notable bump for any of the Giants skill position players, as Barkley and tight endEvan Engram were always going to be top-five options at their positions. Assuming Eli Manning has started his last game for the Giants, he will finish with a fitting record of 116-116.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (foot) could be at risk of missing Week 3 after he aggravated his foot injury over the weekend. He's out of practice Tuesday, Sept. 17, and rehabbing.
Fantasy Spin: Newton hasn't shown enough to start in fantasy whether he plays or not. Kyle Allen would not be worth the spot start should Newton miss the game.
Free-agent QB Jeff Driskel (Bengals) signed an undisclosed deal with the Detroit Lions Tuesday, Sept. 17.
Free-agent QB Paxton Lynch (Seahawks) is visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers Tuesday, Sept. 17.