Ex-Colts HC Chuck Pagano Releases Statement on Andrew Luck's Shocking Retirement

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2019

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano congratulates Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) after a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ Mast/Associated Press

Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is in Andrew Luck's corner.

Pagano, who coached Luck for six seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, released a statement on the quarterback's retirement:

"Andrew Luck is one of the best individuals, teammates and competitors I have ever been around in my lifetime, forget an outstanding football player and leader of men. He is selfless, brilliant and always prepared like no other for the team and carried the Colts organization on his back, including seven fourth-quarter comebacks in his rookie season, two AFC South division titles, three consecutive playoff berths to start his career and the 2014 AFC Championship Game. When he could not go in 2015 and again in 2017 it absolutely crushed him because he could not be there for his team and their passionate fans. It took great courage to make his decision to walk away from the game but no matter how difficult he did what his heart told him and I am proud of him for being honest with himself and the team. With Andrew it was always about more than football and I will forever be grateful to him for his support during my personal battle with leukemia. Our friendship extends well beyond player-coach and I wish him, his beautiful wife Nicole and their growing family nothing but the best. I will forever be a huge Andrew Luck fan."

Luck announced he was retiring at the age of 29 on Saturday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported he was "mentally worn down, and now checking out."

Luck, a four-time Pro Bowler after the franchise selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, will go down as one of the all-time great Colts quarterbacks. He won the 2018 Comeback Player of the Year by completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 4,593 yards, 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Pagano was the head coach for the Colts from Luck's rookie year through the 2017 campaign.

While Luck played just seven games in 2015 and missed the 2017 season with injuries, the pair combined to lead Indianapolis to the playoffs three straight years, culminating in an AFC championship appearance during the 2014 campaign.

Pagano went 53-43 during his tenure with the Colts, although cancer treatment caused him to miss 12 games in 2012.

His statement made it clear Luck was there for him during a difficult time, and he has now offered his support to the quarterback as he calls it a career.