Seattle Seahawks

Andrew Luck abruptly retiring hits Russell Wilson, many in NFL hard about career mortality

Russell Wilson says after 3rd preseason game Seahawks are ready for season, talks about Andrew Luck retiring

Russell Wilson says after 3rd preseason game Seahawks are ready for season, talks about Andrew Luck retiring
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Russell Wilson says after 3rd preseason game Seahawks are ready for season, talks about Andrew Luck retiring

Russell Wilson was on his way onto the field to start the Seahawks’ latest preseason game.

On the way out of the locker room, left tackle Duane Brown stopped him.

“Hey, did you hear about Andrew?” Brown said.

They both were, like the rest of the NFL, stunned that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had suddenly retired Saturday night, in the middle of a preseason game his team was playing without him.

Wilson spent a sizable part of his postgame press conference following Seattle’s 23-15 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers talking about Luck. Luck was the top-overall pick in the same 2012 draft Wilson went to Seattle two rounds later.

They’ve become friends through playing in Pro Bowls together, elite quarterbacks from the same draft class.

Saturday night, Luck abruptly quit the NFL after years of battling major injuries. He is 29 years old, 10 months younger than Wilson.

Luck called it “the hardest decision of my life.”

The shocking news, a top-of-the-league player retiring before age 30, broke as the Seahawks were finishing pregame warmups. Brown found out in the locker room before he and the team went back out to start their third preseason game.

He thought Wilson should know right away.

Wilson’s reaction spoke what many NFL players are thinking about Luck abruptly retiring: It can end at any time. It shows that more and more players in this brutal league are considering their career mortality, that there’s a bigger life to live than football.

Even—and maybe, given the money they’ve made, especially—the elite of the league.

Here’s the thing: Luck and Wilson, and every other NFL player, are people, too. Turns out, they have lives to live.

And, yes, that includes outside of football.

“Yeah, it’s kind of crazy to think about,” Wilson said.

“You know, as fans and even as players sometimes, we forget that there’s life after this game. I think that a guy like Andrew, he is one of the most dedicated guys. He’s always been tremendous in the field. Obviously, he’s battled some things in his life with injuries and everything else. ...

“I’m praying for him. I’m praying that he’s stays encouraged. This game can take a toll on you, physically and also emotionally and spiritually and everything else. I think that he’s demonstrated it with class, going through everything. Being highly touted, obviously, being the No. 1 pick and everything else, there’s a lot of pressure on him. I think that he handled it with grace. I think he handled it very well, and had a tremendous career for how long he played.”

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Wilson repeated that the news about Luck “is tough.”

“I think we all expect that we are going to play this game forever,” Wilson said. “The reality is, for most players, it’s not very long. No matter who we are, or whatever it may be, there is life after football, too.

“I think that’s the thing we always have to balance, we always have to weigh. That’s important.

“He’s always been a tremendous person. I’ve always loved being around him. We’ve loved being around each other. I know his passion for the game, his love for the game.

“I know this has to be really hard for him.

“I’m praying for him to stay encouraged.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll felt the same way his quarterback did about Luck retiring.

“I think that’s really surprising to hear that. That’s a rare instance that a guy in his prime steps away.” Carroll said. “Obviously, he has his reasons and I don’t have much more to say about that.

“Surprising for everybody and you wonder about the circumstances. It is about injuries? He’s had some very long-term, serious injuries that really bothered him. I would think he probably can’t get over this one fast enough and it just wore him out.

“I would support the guy. If the guy wants to step away, the guy wants to step away. I wouldn’t think anything more than to support him.”

This Seahawks legend does, too:

As for fans in Indianapolis booing Luck as he walked off the field from a preseason game there after the news broke Saturday night?

Retired Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin was on point. As usual.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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