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Stoetzer: Many NFL fans have lost their grip on reality

The news of Andrew Luck retiring from football surprised me late Saturday night, with the Colts quarterback making waves across the league with two weeks to go before the season begins.

The reaction from much of Indianapolis didn’t shock me one bit.

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Luck left the field after his team’s preseason game against Chicago to a chorus of boos, then took to the podium for an emotional post-game press conference. Luck is 29 years old, and already his body is betraying him.

He gave most of it up playing football over the last seven seasons after the Colts took him with the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

In the 2013 postseason, Luck helped the Colts put together the second-biggest comeback in league history when they stunned Kansas City 45-44 after trailing by 28 points. Luck took Indy to the AFC Championship game in 2014, and led the league with 40 touchdown passes.

He earned Pro Bowl honors four times. He won NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2018.

Injuries, however, caught up with Luck in recent years. He played through pain in 2016, missed all of 2017, and was dealing with more setbacks this year before going through with what he called “the hardest decision of my life.”

Most of Lucks NFL brethren came out in support on social media. But the news wasn’t good enough for most rabid fans.

I won’t give the fantasy football nutjobs much time here, since anyone who felt the need to run their league’s draft midway through the preseason needs to re-evaluate their life choices. (I saw a friend recently post his draft results on Facebook and noticed one owner took Luck and Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller, who went down Saturday with an apparent ACL tear.)

Our sports society has become far too much of “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” these days.

I’m sure some of those who voiced their displeasure toward Luck as he left the field Saturday night came from a place of loyalty.

I mean, how can you just quit on us now?

Easy for you to say, pal.

Be happy you had one of the top players at his position on your side for more than a few games, before the wear and tear of football took its toll. Luck got the Colts to more playoff games than they probably deserved during his time.

I know my share of Ravens fans who have similar thoughts and feelings about their recently deposed quarterback. Joe Flacco got Baltimore to its second Super Bowl title back in 2012, and he won MVP honors as well.

Then he got paid a lot of money, and didn’t have the greatest regular-season stats in the next few seasons. Never mind his 10-5 playoff record. Time to go, Joe.

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He’s in Denver now, maybe dried up at age 34, and Ravens fans can turn their attention (or disdain?) on Lamar Jackson, while the 22-year-old tries to establish himself as Baltimore’s new franchise quarterback.

Good luck, Lamar. It’s a vicious cycle.

Think Broncos fans feel like giving back their Super Bowl 50 title because Peyton Manning really wasn’t any good by then?

Manning was never quite the same after four neck surgeries, not to mention other injuries he sustained in an 18-year career. He has said in recent years he still deals with numbness in his fingertips as a result.

Andrew Luck didn’t even make it half as long as of Manning did. And while his retirement stunned many of us, it shouldn’t be knocked.

Moving on with the rest of his life, while he’s still able to enjoy it, is the best part of that tough decision.

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