I like Jim Irsay, I think he is a good guy who knows far more about football than most owners. I do not place Luck's retirement (one of the most shocking in pro sports history) entirely on his shoulders. But I think Irsay was cavalier in his handling of AL and should regret a number of things:
- Publicly calling out "the space between his ears," effectively questioning out loud the mental toughness of a man who played football with a lacerated kidney
- Publicly talking about Luck's most recent rehab and inviting the world to ponder what "small little bone" was stopping AL from playing
- Assuring everyone (unlike his wise GM) that AL would be back for 2017
Every single writer covering the Colts has talked about how intensely private AL is, but Irsay couldn't stop himself from airing these things out publicly. I imagine this added to the mental strain which frustrated Luck.
I also think Irsay should regret hiring a defensive HC rather than a QB whisperer/guru who focused on raising a young QB, instead saddling him with having to endure learning a new system practically every year from Arians/Hamilton/Chud.
He should regret standing idly by while Arians called seven step drop after seven stop drop behind a pathetic offensive line. He should regret sticking with a GM who once bragged that you didn't need to draft centers and (other than taking Kelly) couldn't draft or OLs to save his life.
When you are gifted a Ferrari, you do everything you can to make sure it is well maintained. IMO, Irsay didn't do that. Many young QBs have been ruined by getting annihilated in their first couple years (David Carr for example) but it didn't seem to stop Luck, but clearly it wore him down. Andrew was raised in the NFL and by all accounts loved football as much as anyone, but what he went through as a Colts QB caused him to walk away from it all. Irsay needs to reflect on that. I imagine he will, and how a man who (incredibly) was able to draft Elway, Manning, and Luck sadly ended up with only one ring.