As a Detroit Lions fan, it was hard not to look at Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement and get a little worried. The Colts franchise quarterback retired suddenly after being mentally exhausted from the endless amount of rehab he’s had to undergo.
“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,” Luck said in his final press conference. “The only way I see out is to no longer play football.”
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has had his own unrelenting list of injuries, from a broken back to torn ligaments in his finger to a separate shoulder and many more. It would be easy to understand if Stafford was sick of the injuries and didn’t want to put his body through it anymore.
But the Lions franchise quarterback told the media on Tuesday that witnessing Luck’s retirement hasn’t altered his commitment to football. He’s in.
“It doesn’t change my thought process,” Stafford said. “I think everybody’s in their own, different situation. Everybody’s their own human being.”
And while Stafford is still happy playing football, he doesn’t fault Luck for wanting out.
“I respect the hell out of Andrew,” Stafford said. “He’s a great player in this league, a warrior out on the football field, a great player when he was healthy and rolling. I’m happy for him if he’s happy. If that’s what make him happy, man, I’m really happy for him, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
So has he ever even considered an early exit in his current situation?
“No,” Stafford said adamantly.
Whether that’s true or not, his own long-term health does appear to be on his list of priorities. In a recent interview with The Ringer, he said, “I want to play as long as I can without sacrificing too much of my health in the long run. If too many things pile up, it makes that decision a little more loaded, but I love this game, and I want to play it for a long time.”
But, for now, it appears Stafford feels good enough to play the game with just as much enthusiasm as he’s taken into his previous 10 seasons.
“Every year, I’m always still extremely excited to get out there and go play,” Stafford said. “We work all year for 16 opportunities that are guaranteed to us to go out there and play, and kicking the first one off is a whole lot of fun.”