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Andrew Luck is, indeed, lucky

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback, 29-year-old Andrew Luck, who was the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, announced he is retiring. CNN's Coy Wire reports.

Posted: Aug 26, 2019 5:00 PM
Updated: Aug 26, 2019 5:00 PM

The greatest things in the world can often disguise themselves as the worst things in the world. Which is why, as Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck walked off the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night, he was presented with a gift cloaked as a turd.

Moments earlier, Luck -- dressed in a gray T-shirt and shorts and out with a lingering left calf and ankle injury -- was watching from the sidelines during the Bears-Colts pre-season clash when ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the 29-year-old would be retiring. The news was shocking. No, earth shaking.

This was a quarterback who threw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns last season; a quarterback whose team was deemed a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The last such megastar to leave the league this early was Detroit Lions halfback Barry Sanders, who walked away at 31 in 1999. But the Lions were perpetual laughingstocks, and most assumed he was simply tired of nonstop losing.

Luck, on the other hand, spent his first seven years battling all sorts of injuries, missing a full one and a half seasons while facing crippling ailment after crippling ailment. Finally, enough was enough. The joy was gone. The pain overtook the pleasure.

Enter: The gift.

Knowing that their hero was exiting the arena for the final time, Colts fans booed. And booed. And booed. Not all of them, obviously -- but many. It was an ugly, vicious sound, generally reserved for led-off-in-cuffs Wall Street execs and political conmen ousted from office. Luck heard it all; later, he admitted the reaction left an Indiana-sized bruise. "Yeah, it hurt," he said. "I'll be honest, it hurt."

What Luck probably didn't realize at the time, but will almost inevitably come to see, is that the boos were truth serum -- and one is far better off knowing such.

Put differently, NFL players are meat. They are meat to owners; they are meat to coaches; and they are meat to fans. When a quarterback plays well, everyone loves him. He's the darling of the city -- free drinks, autograph requests aplenty, Instagram praise and Twitter glory, five-figure appearance fees and the finest cut of prime rib at the finest table in the finest restaurant. You are a king and a God, and you're making millions of dollars to live the life.

Then, because your body is in constant pain and you want your remaining time on earth to be prosperous and you realize throwing a prolate spheroid through the air only carries so much bliss, you decide you are done. And they scorn you.

In my two and a half decades as a sports writer, I have come to know hundreds of retired NFL players. Many were stars at one point or another -- standout pass rushers, quick-cutting halfbacks. They, too, experienced the bliss of athletic high, and found themselves drunk off the addictive power of NFL success. There are, after all, few experiences that can match the rush of being cheered by 70,000 people in your home coliseum.

More often than not, however, you ultimately wind up a ghost -- left alone to be told by the NFL's health care providers that your chronic headaches can be solved with two Advils; that being unable to remember your daughter's birthday is merely a byproduct of aging. Your knees are shattered. Your resume (2011-2014: Defensive lineman, Arizona Cardinals) is thin. You left school a semester early to prepare for the draft and never went back to attain a degree. Your jersey -- once $150 inside the team store -- peddles for $2.67 on eBay. It's been that price for months.

You are forgotten, and as you limp through your old stadium's hallways for a reunion of the so-and-so division championship squad, you realize that nobody recognizes you. And, if they did recognize you, they'd likely boo.

Because, once upon a time, you dashed their hopes by dropping a pass or throwing an interception or -- heaven forbid -- retiring early to care for yourself.

Andrew Luck is, indeed, lucky.

He was gifted the truth.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
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