I haven't logged into the ol' Colts forum in... a while. In fact, I think I stopped being a mod right after you got drafted and other than lurking I've made like six posts since. Life got busy, and honestly, being a mod during that down season before we drafted you took my love of the game away, so I get it.
I cried twice over your retirement. Once because it's sad to see you go; after your return last year, I was hoping to selfishly get a few more amazing years. Growing up with a Colts team that struggled, I was lucky to get all those years with Peyton and then the years we had with you. I cried when Peyton left, too, even knowing we had you to take over. I'm a weepy fan.
The second time I cried, though, was when our fans booed you. I'm not sure who those folks are or what they're all about, but that was heartless and reprehensible. I wish those of us who loved and appreciated what you did for the team and the city could somehow erase that moment. We can't, though, and that's the sad part of fandom. Everyone gets to do what they want to do as a fan. Even the jerks.
Now I know you're probably never going to see this post; it was super rare for a player to read the board back when the community was much, much smaller. But if you happen upon this, thanks, Andrew. Thanks for coming to a team that was falling apart and losing a legend and stepping up. Thanks for the amazing run of games, for the gutsy playoff comebacks, for the cool moments like you randomly serving as a fan's best-man on the fly.
And thank you for stepping away for the good of your life. I think fans sometimes don't get that. If you're hurt, and it's making your life miserable, you need to take care of you. I am glad you had the strength to look out for your future and not be burdened by all of us wanting the wins and maybe not thinking clearly about your safety and your well-being. People need to learn that those who entertain us don't owe us their comfort, their bodies, their lives. You were wise beyond your years to realize you don't owe our fans your happiness.
The Colts Nation will miss you, but I know that most of us will remember you with a smile. And the ones who won't... well, we can't choose our family, right?
I won't say it doesn't hurt to see you go, but you'll always be one of our finest.