Andrew Luck retired from the NFL before Robert Griffin III.
That may be hard to reconcile with — given Griffin’s downward trajectory after his brilliant rookie season — but that is now the truth after Luck announced his retirement from the NFL on Saturday. The announcement blindsided the rest of the league: Luck is really going to walk away from the sport before turning 30?
Luck said he lost joy for the game after having to rehab injuries throughout his career. The (now former) Colts quarterback was in the midst of recovering from a calf and ankle injury, the latest in an injury-plagued career.
On Twitter, Griffin supported Luck’s decision.
Drafted first and second overall respectively in 2012, neither Luck nor Griffin have had the types of careers analysts envisioned — especially after both had dynamic rookie seasons.
In his first season, Luck helped the Colts transform from a 2-14 team that had released Peyton Manning into an 11-5 playoff contender. Griffin, meanwhile, brought Washington its first playoff appearance since 2007 with the quarterback engineering an electric offense.
Griffin, though, never replicated his success. He tore his ACL and LCL in the playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks and struggled to regain form when he returned the following year. The quarterback also clashed with coaches, leading to his eventual release in 2016. He has since spent time with the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens.
Luck, on the other hand, performed at a high level when on the field — but fought through pain over the years.
Through six seasons, Luck dealt with torn cartilage in his ribs, a partially torn abdomen, a lacerated kidney, at least one concussion, a torn labrum and a calf and ankle injury — the latter of which led to his retirement. Luck missed the entire 2017 season while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Now, fans are left to wonder “What if?” when it comes to both quarterbacks.