Andrew Luck confirmed the reports that he will retire from the NFL at age 29. The Indianapolis Colts quarterback admitted retirement isn’t what he planned as he fought back the tears knowing he played his last game in the NFL

“This is not an easy decision. Honestly it’s the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me,” Luck said in an emotional press conference after the Colts’ third preseason game. “I’ve been stuck in this process. I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. It’s taken the joy out of this game … the only way forward for me is to remove myself from football.”

Luck has been contemplating retirement for the last two weeks, as the pain on his ankle wasn’t subsiding. He felt “quite exhausted, quite tired” after the constant pain from the ankle injury, just two years after recurring shoulder pain cost him his 2017 season. Luck battled rib and shoulder issues for much of 2015 and 2016 prior to the shoulder injury. Luck returned in 2018 from the shoulder injury to throw for a career-high 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for a 98.7 passer rating. 

“It’s been four years of this injury-pain rehab cycle, I can’t live the life I want to live moving forward … I feel quite exhausted and quite tired,” Luck said. “I know I am unable to pour my heart and soul into this position … and it’s sad, but I also have a lot of clarity in this.

“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 this game and after 2016 when I played in pain and was unable to regularly practice, I made a vow to myself that I would never go down that path again. I find myself in a similar situation and the only way for me is to remove myself from football and this cycle I’ve been in. I’ve come to the proverbial fork in the road and I made the vow to myself that if I ever entered this situation again, I would choose the innocence. 

“My wife and I are so proud when people ask us where we’re from. We say Indianapolis … I want to thank football for so many moments in my life. It’s the greatest team sport in the world.”