ALAMEDA -- Jon Gruden knows Andrew Luck well, as a player and a person.
The Raiders head coach had tons of interactions with the four-time Pro Bowler during his previous job as ESPN color commentator and analyst, and has made no secret of his great respect and admiration for Luck.
It doesn’t hurt that Luck ran variations of Gruden’s favorite play, Spider 2Y Banana, more than just about anyone while quarterbacking the Cardinal.
Gruden loves Luck’s work ethic and toughness, but was not floored like many when the Colts quarterback retired on Saturday night.
“I was a little surprised like everybody else, but not shocked,” Gruden said. “He has had some injuries. If you know Andrew, he’s not just one of the great quarterbacks. He’s a great competitor and is really advanced in life. I’m sure there’s a million things he can do."
Luck decided to hang ‘em up after battling yet another injury issue, this time to his calf and ankle. He has dealt with significant injuries through most of his career, including significant issues with his throwing shoulder.
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The Colts were a legitimate Super Bowl contender, but their outlook took a huge hit when one of the NFL’s best signal callers chose to retire.
“The NFL will miss him,” Gruden said. “I know I’ll miss competing against him. He’s a good friend and great player. I wish him the best.”