Andrew Luck shocked the world when he announced his retirement in the middle of the preseason. According to reporter Ian Rappaport “The Colts have known that QB Andrew Luck was seriously mulling retiring for at least two weeks. He’s married, he plans to travel the world, and once the love for the game waned, it sounds like he wanted to step away. So, he did.” This had the Colts scrambling a bit who ultimately extended Jacoby Brissett two years worth 30 million dollars. The Colts are currently 6-8 and eliminated from playoff contention. Prior to Luck’s announcement, the Colts were seen as a fringe Super Bowl team. On August 28th hosts Sharp and Shapiro discussed whether they believed if Rob Gronkowski and Andrew Luck would be returning to the NFL in the future.

Shapiro opens up the discussion with a quote from Rob Gronkowski:
“I want to be clear to my fans, I needed to recover. I was not in a good place and I didn’t like it. I was losing that joy in life.
Shapiro comments:
He’s speaking from the heart there.
Sharp brings up:
Sounds like he might have early onset CTE.

The comments made by Gronkowski were genuine. He spoke those words with tears in his eyes. The true question is whether he was losing the joy in his life because of injuries or because his mental health was deteriorating. Gronkowski has two confirmed grade 1 concussions in years 2013 and 2018. I would imagine that would be a factor in determining if one wants to continue playing in the NFL. He has also suffered a back vertebral fracture, torn ACL, torn MCL, and a back vertebral disc hernia among many others from 2013-2018. I would imagine his body was in immense pain.

Rob Gronkowski continued:
I am very satisfied with where I am at in life right now. I truly believe that these tough times, 9 years off the field, 9 years on the field has brought me to this point. I believe I am in the right path in life.

I don’t think he regrets playing in the NFL. I honestly believe he likes the celebrity aspect of football as much as being on the field. He has huge Jersey Shore vibes that elevated his life off the field. He’s done a slew of television to include a comedy special. Since he did not join the Patriots this year, I would imagine he is fully committed to never playing again.

Shapiro reflects on the future Hall of Famer’s career:
You know I’ve always liked this guy. I think he is great for the NFL. Obviously, he helped the Patriots win championships/ Super Bowls and lot of football games. He’s a beast. He always has been a beast.
Sharp adds:
“He might have the best 10-year career for any tight end in NFL history.”

In just 9 years he amassed 79 touchdown and 7,861 yards. Let’s compare him to hall of fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez posted a career high 11 touchdown receptions while Gronkowski had 17 in his sophomore season. Gonzalez’s career high 12.9 yards per reception in 2000 was eclipsed by Rob’s 21.6 in 2016. Gonzalez’s career high 1,258 receiving yards pales in comparison to Rob Gronkowski’s 1,327 yards with 12 less catches and 24 less targets. Gronkowski undeniably had the greatest decade for a tight end in NFL history.

Sharp comes in with a hot take:

“I’m not convinced that him or Andrew Luck are really done. They are both 29/30 years old they might be back in 2-3 years. It could be a temporary thing.”
Shapiro gives his opinion on the matter:
“I could definitely see that with Rob Gronkowski. I truly believe in my heart on the latter end (Andrew Luck) that he is not coming back with the Colts and any other franchise. The reason why I would say that with Andrew Luck is based on the way he went out the door.”

Andrew Luck’s injury history includes a lacerated kidney, torn cartilage, and a concussion from 2015-2018. There is no doubt he suffered a tremendous amount of pain in his playing career. I do agree with Shapiro that his retirement had much more to do with how he felt mentally. There was much less pressure on Gronkowski than with Luck. The Colts history of Super Bowls loomed over Andrew Luck from day one. It didn’t help that he was coveted as the second coming of Peyton Manning either. The growing pressure of performing in playoffs in tandem with his injuries put him over the top. This is evident by the fact he retired just before the Colts’ regular season was scheduled to start. Gronkowski may not physically be able to come back to the NFL. Another grade one concussion could ruin the rest of his life. What does he have to prove anyways?

Sharp gives his incite with the Andrew Luck situation:

“I’m not sure that Jim Irsay and Andrew Luck have the best relationship. I think that might have been part of what was going on. I think he may have been pressuring Luck to come back. Warriors pressured Durant to come back and look what happened with that.”

Jim Irsay’s opinion on the matter tells me everything. When asked about it, he says Luck “is giving up nearly $500 million by retiring”. It’s clear to everyone that Luck understands this dilemma. He also understands that he has enough money to last three lifetimes as well. Leaving football was about his mental and physical health. He wants to be able to see his children grow up and walk them down the aisle. He probably doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair with severe brain damage. If Irsay would prioritize Luck’s safety, he might actually consider coming back to the NFL. It just doesn’t seem like that is going to be the case.

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