Bears react to Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement: ‘He doesn’t owe us any reason’

Bears react to Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement: ‘He doesn’t owe us any reason’

INDIANAPOLIS — The Bears’ third preseason game of 2019 will be memorable for much more than Eddy Pineiro’s 58-yard field goal, as it turns out. 

On the sideline across from them, and around the stands at Lucas Oil Stadium, a surreal scene played out: Thousands of fans received an ESPN alert during the second half of Saturday night’s game with the stunning news that quarterback Andrew Luck was retiring. But there Luck was, standing in shorts and a t-shirt on the Indianapolis Colts’ sideline, all while legions of fans — and the opposing team — learned of the league’s most stunning retirement since that of Barry Sanders. 

“It’s unfortunate for Luck to not get to share his truth and break it out how he would’ve intended,” Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “And no disrespect to Adam (Schefter), that’s Adam’s job, to break news. So yeah, it’s very unfortunate.”

That the news of Luck’s impending retirement broke during an otherwise-meaningless Saturday night preseason game — in which neither the Colts nor Bears played any of their starters — made it feel even more hallucinatory. 

Wait: Andrew Luck — the 29-year-old face of a franchise with such a bright future — is retiring? What? 

“He’s definitely a great player in this league, and after what he did last year after not playing for a while — yeah, so,” Amukamara said, trailing off. “It’ll just be interesting to hear the reason. 

“To be honest, he doesn’t owe us any reason.”

Luck, though, eloquently, candidly and emotionally explained his reasoning for retiring in a press conference following Saturday’s game. He described being “stuck in a cycle of rehab” and that the pain from six years in the NFL took the joy out of the game for him. 

“Part of my journey going forward will be getting out of pain and figuring out what’s going on and how to feel better,” Luck said. 

Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long, who dealt with his own brutal stretch of injuries and rehab from 2016-2018, discussed the toll that can take on a player. 

“If you’ve ever dealt with injuries as a professional athlete extensively, cause everybody deals with injuries on a certain level, but the guys that have been through just injury after injury, and it takes a long time regardless of their success rate, it starts to wear on you mentally,” Long said. “Obviously the physical aspect is tough. But the mental side is a real thing and you know, it’s just, being injured is tough, being injured is real tough.

“… I hope nothing but the best for Andrew in whatever he chooses to do.”

Bears outside linebacker James Vaughters — who was one of the more impressive players vying for a roster spot on Saturday — overlapped with Luck at Stanford in 2011. He said he remembered Luck’s dedication to his craft and attention to details among the things that made him a great quarterback. 

“He’s a high character guy, he’s a great leader,” Vaughters said. “He pays attention to the details. (I was) blessed to be able to play with him, blessed to know a guy like that because details, details, details are what make a difference in this game. I really appreciate the opportunity to play with him, the opportunity to know him. He’s a great guy.”

The Bears left Indianapolis on Saturday as merely a small part of the biggest NFL story of 2019. They were just the team on the opposing sideline when the news broke. These two teams play each other once every four years, so Luck’s retirement doesn’t affect their outlook for 2019 (unless you were predicting a Bears-Colts Super Bowl). 

But on a personal level, plenty of members of the Bears played against Luck or got to know him somehow. And from afar, those players and coaches conveyed nothing but respect for Luck, both the player and — more importantly, on this day — the person. 

“I have so much respect for him,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “I remember him coming out his rookie year (2012), seeing him grow and come in behind Peyton Manning. 

“Here’s the one thing I remember about Andrew, is a little story not many people know about: I remember sitting at the train station in Indy here at the Combine (Nagy was an offensive quality control assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles then). And everybody knew that he was going to be the first guy taken. And here he is going around to these 32 tables that teams have all their coaches sitting around to do interviews with a lot of players that might not have formal interviews — these were informal interviews. 

“And most guys don’t do that. Here he is, probably the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, he’s going around from table to table sitting down in these informal interviews with position coaches. And that always stuck out to me. And I said you know what, this guy’s going to have a heck of a career, and that’s what he’s done. 

“Obviously it’s shocking to everybody, and they have their own deal, but I just have a lot of respect for him.”

Bears to don throwback helmets Sunday against Giants

Bears to don throwback helmets Sunday against Giants

The Bears are throwing it back to the past this weekend at Soldier Field.

The Bears will rock 1960s throwback helmets Sunday when they take on the New York Giants. The helmet is navy blue and features a white "C" logo and gray facemask, whereas the current helmet has an orange "C" and white facemask.

A look at the throwback lid:

The Bears donned those helmets from 1962-72 during the playing days of  Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers, now Hall of Famers. They won the 1963 NFL Championship along the way.

“I think a lot of Bears fans remember the ‘60s, especially the ’63 championship team winning at Wrigley against the Giants with those ‘Cs’ on our helmet,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said. “And of course Butkus and Sayers and all the great memories they provided. That small change I think means a lot to people.”

As 2019 is the Bears' 100th season as a franchise, they've been honoring a different decade at each home game. The Bears have also installed seven-foot tall bobbleheads around Chicago each week featuring players from that week's celebratory decade.

Unsurprisingly, this week's game will celebrate the 1960s, with Butkus and Sayers represented in life-size bobblehead form:

The Bears will give out bobbleheads of Butkus and Sayers to the first 20,000 fans who arrive at Sunday's game.

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Mitch Trubisky practiced in full on Thursday

Mitch Trubisky practiced in full on Thursday

As Chicago continues to analyze Mitch Trubisky’s hip and figure out if his benching was actually injury related or performance related, the injury report from practice makes it seem like he should play on Sunday.

Trubisky was a full participant in practice on Thursday, just as he was on Wednesday. Back-to-back full practices would seem to indicate he should be full go for Sunday’s game against the Giants.

If not, then chaos will ensue.

As for the rest of the injury report, offensive lineman Bobby Massie was not limited with his back injury while linebacker Isaiah Irving was limited with a quad injury.

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