Transcript of Andrew Luck’s retirement news conference

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The text of Andrew Luck’s news conference on Saturday night, announcing his retirement after the Colts’ preseason loss to the Chicago Bears:

“This is not an easy decision. Honestly, it’s the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me. 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 offseason, and I felt stuck in it. The only way I see out is to no longer play football.

“I’ve been stuck in this process. I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. Taken the joy out of the game, and after 2016, when I played in pain and was unable to regularly practice, I made a vow to myself that I would not go down that path again. I find myself in a similar situation and the only way forward for me is to remove myself from football and this cycle that I’ve been in.

“I’ve come to the proverbial fork in the road, and I made a vow to myself that if I ever did again, I’d choose me, in a sense. It’s very difficult; I love this team, I love my teammates, the folks in our building, the folks in this building, the fans, the game of football, and as part of this team, as a member of this team, and because of how I feel, I know that I am unable to pour my heart and soul into this position, which would not only sell myself short but the team in the end as well. And it’s sad, but I have a lot of clarity in this. It’s been a difficult process, but my wife, Mr. Ballard, Mr. Irsay and his family and Frank Reich have been incredibly helpful and supportive and I’m so grateful for them. As I told the guys in the locker room, it’s been the honor of a lifetime to represent the horseshoe, the city of Indianapolis both on and off the field. To Mr. Irsay and his family, thank you so much, I am so grateful to have been drafted here. Your unwavering support has been appreciated.8

“I cannot fathom another owner who loves their team as much as you do. We feel that as players, it permeates through the building, and from the moment — and we talked about this earlier — from the moment I arrived in Indianapolis I felt like I could be myself and I did not have to fill Peyton [Manning] — one of the greats of all time — I felt like I did not have to fill his shoes. And I know that starts with the person up top, and for that I am very, very, very much appreciative.

“So many people to thank. I think it’s maybe very fitting that Chuck [Pagano] was the opposing coordinator tonight, so many positive points and moments and such an impact on my life, and B.A. [Bruce Arians] as well, not here tonight but is in Tampa, all my former coaches, but it did feel a little bit full circle walking out there tonight being able to give Chuck Pagano a hug. …
“Fitting that I’m in my retirement press conference in an athletic shirt; I know I look pretty ratty up here after games. So sorry, Mom, I can’t have a better appearance right now. There are so many people in the Colts organization that make it run, that maybe folks that maybe don’t know about. Doug, Troy and the crew, Pete Ward, everybody in the cafeteria, Tex and the security staff, done an amazing job, everybody on the scouting departments on the personnel job. Todd Vasvari and Matt Terpening picked me and a bunch of other Stanford guys up my rookie year from the Indianapolis airport, took me to Jason’s Deli in Carmel for my first meal in Indianapolis as a Colt; it was awesome.

“Bone doctor, DB, Cary, Kyle, Marcus, Wally, all the doctors, the help and care has been top-notch, especially in times that are tough, especially when you’re seeing the doctor or the trainer. David Thornton, a simple thank you for your compassion, Matt Conti and the PR team. Matt, you have a thankless job, and you do a great job at it.