CARSON, Calif.—Just before he took the field for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Chargers, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson got unexpected news from left tackle Duane Brown.
“Hey, did you hear about Andrew?” Brown asked his quarterback.
Andrew, of course, is Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who stunned the football world Saturday by announcing his retirement from the NFL.
Luck and Wilson have been linked throughout their careers because both were members of the 2012 draft class, Luck going No. 1 overall to Indianapolis and Wilson going in the third round to Seattle.
“It’s kind of crazy to think about,” Wilson said after the game. “I think as fans, even as players sometimes, we forget there’s life after this game. I think a guy like Andrew, he’s one of the most dedicated guys. He’s always been tremendous on the field. Obviously, he’s battled some things in his life with injuries and everything else. I don’t know what it was, but praying for him. Praying that he stays encouraged. This game can take a toll on us physically, but also emotionally, spiritually and everything else. I think he’s demonstrated it with class the whole time he’s gone through everything. Being highly touted, obviously. Being the No. 1 pick and everything else, there’s a lot of pressure on him. I think he handled it with grace. I think he handled it really well and had a tremendous career for how long he played.”
On hearing the news before kickoff, Wilson said, “Duane actually told me right before we got on the field. I didn’t know. He said, ‘Hey, did you hear about Andrew?’ I didn’t know what happened. It’s tough. We all expect we’re going to play this game forever. The reality is for most players, it’s not very long. No matter how good we are, or whatever it may be, there’s life after this game, too. I think that’s a thing we always have to balance and always have to weigh. I think it’s important. He’s always been a tremendous performer. I’ve always loved being around him, and the times we’ve gotten to be around each other. Like I said, just his passion for the game, his love for the game. I know this has to be really hard on him. Just praying for him to stay encouraged.”
While they played in different conferences and didn’t cross path’s often, Wilson has admired Luck ever since the two shared moments during the pre-draft process, then spent their careers frequently being compared to one another as the two most successful quarterbacks from that 2012 class.
“We got to know each other through the draft process a little bit,” Wilson said. “Right after the draft we came to the Rookie Symposium and spent some time together, different Pro Bowls—we went to our first Pro Bowl together, and just recently too. He’s a great competitor. As busy as he is, and as busy as I am, we don’t get to see each other much, but when we do, it’s all out of respect. When you really think about it for that 2012 class, I think we have a great appreciation for each other. He was a great player.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was equally surprised by the news.
“I think that’s really surprising to hear that,” Carroll said. “That’s a rare instance that a guy in his prime steps away. Obviously he has his reasons and I don’t have much more to say about that. Surprising for everybody and you wonder about the circumstances. It is about injuries. He’s had some very long-term, serious injuries that really bothered him. I would think he probably can’t get over this one fast enough and it just wore him out. I would support the guy. If the guy wants to step away, the guy wants to step away. I wouldn’t think anything more than that than to support him.”
Game action photos from the Seahawks' third preseason game of 2019 against the Chargers in Los Angeles.