Former Colts QB Andrew Luck never considered returning to the NFL

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Six years after his surprising retirement from the NFL, Andrew Luck returned to Indianapolis on Friday for the annual Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala.

Luck was only 29 years old when he walked away from football. He’ll turn 35 this September, an age at which several quarterbacks — including Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers — are still succeeding.

Luck threw for 23,671 yards and 171 touchdowns during his six NFL seasons. (He missed the entire 2017 campaign due to a shoulder injury.) His 4,374 yards in 2012 set a record for passing yards by a rookie. And the Colts made the playoffs four times during his career.

However, when asked if has ever considered playing football since retiring, Luck said he’s never looked back.

“When I retired, that part of it was put to bed in my mind in a very simple, sort of direct way,” Luck told reporters, including the Indianapolis Star’s Joel A. Erickson. “There were a lot of complications around it, you know, certainly tormented inside, as you guys saw that night, but I think that part of it has stayed.”

The Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala, an event held by former Colts coach Chuck Pagano, raises money for cancer research. This year’s gathering raised more than $1 million, helped in part by a donation from Colts owner Jim Irsay, who challenged Luck and Pagano to throw footballs to knock down 16 boards in 60 seconds.

Luck was known for his accuracy as a passer, so it shouldn’t have been shocking to see the four-time Pro Bowler rise to the moment.

Despite not wanting to return to the NFL, Luck realized he enjoyed football in his life. He’s addressed that by coaching part-time at Palo Alto High School (which he calls “lower-case ‘c’ coaching”).

“Football gave me a lot. A lot. Most importantly, again, the relationships and the experiences with people that I loved,” Luck said. “I think part of me feels, and I don’t mean this in a cheesy way, but part of me feels like, you know, it’s my turn to give back to this game.

“Part of me realized that at some point in my life I needed to reintegrate football,” he added. “I love the game still.”

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