Phillip Dorsett dozed off while watching football on his couch Saturday night. When he woke up, he thought he was still dreaming.
As the New England Patriots wide receiver came to, he saw the news that stunned the NFL world: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck — a teammate of Dorsett’s for two seasons in Indy — has decided to retire at age 29.
“I was shocked,” Dorsett told reporters after Sunday’s Patriots practice. “I thought it was a joke. But then I saw it come on the ticker, and I was like, ‘Oh, seriously?’ Honestly, I was just speechless.”
Luck, Dorsett said, was the first Colts player to call him after the team drafted him in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and has held a special place in the wideout’s heart ever since. Dorsett called Luck a phenomenal teammate and said he respected his stunning decision to step away from the game.
“He was great,” Dorsett said. “He was amazing — amazing teammate. A great guy to be around. Always full of joy. Nothing but respect for Andrew. I love him. He’s a good dude. … I can’t sit here and say I know what he was going through, because nobody does, but I know it’s tough on him. I know he didn’t want to walk away. But he had to do what he had to do for himself.”
In his retirement news conference Saturday night, Luck said the various injuries he’s suffered over the years had “taken the joy out of” football for him. Dorsett recalled watching the QB struggle to recover from a shoulder injury two summers ago that ultimately sidelined him the entire 2017 season.
“It was tough on him, obviously,” said Dorsett, who was traded to the Patriots after the 2017 preseason. “Any time you’re going through anything and you can’t be out there with your guys, your brothers, it’s tough on him. But he took it. He was positive through the whole thing. He was always great to be around, no matter if he was on the field or off the field.”
Luck played in all 16 games in 2018 and enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career, throwing for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns to earn Pro Bowl and NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors. His injury issue resurfaced over the past month, however, with multiple lower leg ailments causing him to miss the Colts’ first three preseason games and nearly all of training camp.
“Like I said, the end of the day, I can’t sit here and say I knew exactly what he was going through,” Dorsett said. “But (it’s for the) best for him.”
As several of his Patriots teammates did on social media, Dorsett denounced the Colts fans who booed Luck off the field following Saturday night’s preseason contest.
“That was just disappointing for me — even sad,” Dorsett said. “Knowing him, I knew he was going to get emotional. I knew it hurt him. And it’s just tough. I can’t sit here and lie to you. You could see his reaction in the interview. I know it probably brought him to tears for sure.”
Coincidentally, the player set to replace Luck in Indy is the one the Colts traded Dorsett to New England to acquire: Jacoby Brissett, who started 15 games in Luck’s absence in 2017.
Thumbnail photo via Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports Images