Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman retired in 2001 after winning three Super Bowls during his 12-year NFL tenure. File Photo by Sergio Flores/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 26 (UPI) — Dallas Cowboys legend Troy Aikman recently stood up for Andrew Luck on social media after the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback announced his decision to retire.
The three-time Super Bowl champion and Pro Football Hall of Famer did so by responding to a tweet from FS1 sports personality Doug Gottlieb. Luck announced his decision to retire Saturday. The 29-year-old quarterback cited the numerous injuries he has sustained during his NFL tenure as a major reason behind walking away from the game.
“This is not an easy decision. Honestly, it’s the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me,” Luck told reporters Saturday during his retirement news conference.
“For the last four years or so, 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. The only way I see out is to no longer play football.”
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Luck missed the entire 2017 season due to a shoulder issue. He returned to win Comeback Player of the Year in 2018, before dealing with more injuries this off-season and in training camp.
“Retiring cause rehabbing is ‘too hard’ is the most millennial thing ever,” Gottlieb tweeted Saturday.
Gottlieb’s tweet drew a lot of negative reaction and had more than 26,000 comments and 1,700 retweets. Aikman — now a commentator for Fox — was just one of the former athletes to respond to the take.
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“That’s total [expletive] Doug,” Aikman wrote. “What qualifies you to decide how someone should live their life? So you’re now the authority on what motivates Andrew Luck? And if his decisions don’t fit into what you think is best for him then you rip him? Guess that keeps you employed on FS1. Nice.”
Aikman, 52, played his entire 12-year career with the Cowboys. The six-time Pro Bowl selection sustained multiple concussions during his pro football tenure before retiring in 2001. He also sustained a concussion during the final snap of his career. Aikman spoke about his personal decision to retire during NFL Films’ Troy Aikman: A Football Life.
“All these people think I got out of the game because of head injuries,” Aikman said. “Concussions had nothing to do with it, absolutely nothing to do with my retirement. Ultimately, the reason I retired after 12 years was because I felt that I had worked hard to develop some level of credibility and respect within this game. And I felt like that was being jeopardized by decisions that were being made beyond my control within the organization. And I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.”
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Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady also voiced his support for Luck during a radio interview Monday on WEEI’s Greg Hill Show.
“It is his life,” Brady said. “Everyone has the right to choose what they want to do. He had a great career and he was a great player. Everybody wishes they could be healthy all the time.
“It is a contact sport and he’s certainly had his fair share of injuries, so guys retire at different times. Some at the end of the season, and I have seen a lot of guys retire before the season gets going and this is just one of those examples.”
Luck retired with a 4-4 record in the postseason and a 53-33 record in the regular season. The Stanford graduate was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.