Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Some Andrew Luck thoughts

John Rooke
August 30, 2019 - 2:45 pm
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Thinking out loud…while wondering about what the next, new corporate logo will be to appear on pro uniforms…

 

  • Andrew Luck was booed by his own fans in Indianapolis last weekend when word of his retirement leaked out through social media.  How many of those “fans” will never admit to that now?  All of them?

 

  • Would you “boo” Tom Brady if you learned through social media he was retiring while standing on the sidelines?

 

  • Luck is far from ‘soft,’ as he has been described previously, but on the story’s surface he violated an unwritten rule of ‘abandoning’ his teammates, regardless of any pain or emotion. 

 

  • This wouldn’t have been an issue had Luck decided to retire BEFORE training camp began…or at least, if the team had acknowledged his desire to step away when they first knew about it.

 

  • Apparently, they kept hoping he’d change his mind…until he didn’t.  Or couldn’t.

 

  • This issue is just another in a series of continual screwups for a maligned front office in Indy in the aftermath of Deflategate – which they brought on themselves, of course.  Perhaps, they should have tried to understand the star player’s needs first, before worrying about their own needs.

 

  • Just like they should have understood science first, rather than fulfill their need to “get” the Patriots.

 

  • So I get it, and I get the fans’ response to Luck’s seemingly abrupt retirement. 

 

  • But this is precisely why social media can be so specious.  Forget immediacy or a need to know.  It forces snap judgments, decisions and reactions without thought, without perspective.  We’re too quick to criticize, and sure, I’ve been guilty of that myself.

 

  • So is anyone still roasting Josh McDaniels’ decision to leave Indy before he ever got started?  Social media reaction damn-near ruined his career in the aftermath.  Now?

 

  • Maybe he was a little smarter than some gave him credit for.  Sure looks that way to me.

 

  • I, for one, will be very surprised if Brian Hoyer is not on the final 53-man roster, despite not getting a snap in the final two preseason games.  This team is deep enough that, should the unthinkable occur to TB12, they feel Hoyer can at least get them into the dance. 

 

  • Plus, he’ll be exactly what Jarrett Stidham needs to continue his upward trend, too, by learning from a pretty smart player.

 

  • David Andrews’ tale is a tough one.  Blood clots, as you probably know, are life-threatening.  Forget football for a while.  But the University of Tennessee’s Trey Smith, an offensive lineman who missed out on most of last year with clot problems, is back this season playing ball.  Hope for an Andrews return next year is real.

 

  • The Patriots’ biggest needs, as I currently see them, all have to do with depth.  They already have a lot of it, and they’ll need it with the rate of injuries remaining high throughout the NFL as the regular season begins. 

 

  • The offensive line kinda fixed itself this week with two pick-ups.  Now, if they could find a way to shore up the TE slot a bit….

 

  • ICYMI, Rob Gronkowski’s big announcement this week has him now advocating for athletes to use CBD products for pain relief.  He also said physically ‘he could play right now,’ but that he’s not there mentally.

 

  • Does he have any empathy for the other 29-year-old ex-NFL star (Luck) retiring this past week?  I imagine so.  It was clear to see the hurt – and anguish – in his eyes as he described his post-Super Bowl ordeal of dealing with his physical pain. 

 

  • “Early” retirement will be the rule, rather than the exception, in seasons-to-come for many of the games’ stars.

 

  • The game is too violent, too physical, to demanding on the body to continue at the present pace without repercussions…like taking the game’s best players out of it altogether.  One of the reasons, no doubt, Gronk is now on the pro-CBD trail for athletes to manage their pain.

 

  • Maybe, just maybe…both Gronk and Luck are trying to teach the NFL something, by being honest and open about themselves?  They’re saying, “please help all of us and fix this.”  Do right by your players, and maybe the league can live for another 100 years.

 

  • Tweet of the Week, from @Buster_ESPN: “When Sandy Koufax retired at age 30, he was coming off a season in which he went 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA – and walked away because of terrible, chronic pain. He is a person of empathy and grace, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Andrew Luck heard from him.”

 

  • Season 19 begins next week for the “Patriots Playbook” on Patriots.com Radio.  Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the regular season for the very latest from Patriots’ HQ.  19 years of hosting the same show on the same channel/station?  Must be some kind of a record.

 

  • But it’s not the exact same show, thank goodness.  There has been at least some evolution.  But Eldred in North Carolina, Trey in Memphis, Pat in Agawam and Todd from Toronto-in-North Carolina will undoubtedly do their best to bang their drums, slowly.

 

  • Little League’s decision to move Rhode Island out of New England and into a new “Metro” region for 2021 is idiotic.  Little Rhody is about as “metro” (with New York, really?) as Iowa is.  Can’t help but think someone in the NE region (Goffstown, NH maybe?) lobbied long and hard to give RI the boot.

 

  • Because the smallest state has regularly pounded on the MA, NH, VT and Maine champs over the past few years – winning five of the past six regional titles.  Can’t beat ‘em?  Kick ‘em out.

 

  • Six of the past 10 New England winners overall have come from RI.  The other four?  From Connecticut – also banned and moved to the new “Metro” region.  Not a good look, Little League.

 

  • Heading into the weekend, the Red Sox had homered in 18 straight games.  That’s good and all, but…YAWN.

 

  • If you’re actually thinking about potential September call-ups to assist Boston in its piteous attempt at reaching the post-season, Pawtucket reliever Trevor Kelley was named a 2019 post-season International League all-star this week. 

 

  • Kelley leads the IL with a 1.90 ERA…a number most of the current Boston bullpen allows in the FIRST inning.

 

  • Kelley, in case you weren’t aware, is a Barrington, RI native.  He moved to North Carolina for 3rd grade and later attended UNC.  He was a 36th round draft selection in 2015 and was voted as the IL’s Best Reliever by Baseball America.

 

  • And while Pawsox attendance has picked up slightly over the summer, overall Pawtucket is 3rd from the bottom in IL attendance this season – averaging just more than 5000 fans per game…with one, final, lame-duck season to play that will seem more like going to a wake than taking a trip to the ballpark.

 

  • Nice nugget from Dan McGowan at the Globe – the Providence Grays won the National League pennant 140 years ago, in 1879. 

 

  • And some historians believe the Grays fielded the first African-American professional player – William Edward White, a student at Brown – during that season.  But Jackie Robinson is, of course, considered baseball’s race trailblazer.

 

  • In a little more than nine weeks, we will have college basketball games that count.  Time can’t fly fast enough.

 

  • What an experienced pick-up for the Friar staff in bringing back ex-assistant Bob Walsh.  Walsh served seven seasons under Tim Welsh and turned Rhode Island College into a Little East powerhouse during his time there. 

 

  • He’ll most likely slide into the role Nikola Knezevic held the last few years in player development and video roles – which Walsh assisted with for Team USA at this years’ Pan Am games.

 

  • Did you see the story this past week that ex-Friar, ex-Celtics’ coach Rick Pitino had his eye on a return to PC if Ed Cooley had left for Michigan?  Anyone else glad that Bob Driscoll didn’t have to make that decision, or would it have been an easy one for him?

 

  • Big East Media Day, in case you’re wondering, will be Thursday October 10th at Madison Square Garden.  Expect the full, regular-season schedule to be released after Labor Day.

 

  • Brown’s basketball team has been touring and playing in Spain this week, with three wins in four tries against Spanish league competition.  The only loss came Thursday to FC Barcelona 79-70.

 

  • And a big honor for Brown assistant coach and St. Ray’s-ex T.J. Sorrentine – he will have his University of Vermont #11 jersey retired by the school in October.

 

  • This is college football’s 150th season, officially kicking off this weekend. And to think Rutgers and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) started it all in 1869.  Which may also be the last time (only time?) Rutgers won a game of note.

 

  • Wonder why Rutgers will apparently have the widest, and most extensive, selection of alcoholic beverages at their football games this fall?  Blue Moon, Yuengling, Corona, Modelo, Fat Tire and Founders IPA are among their concession stand beer offerings. 

 

  • Serving the needs of the fans in more ways than one, I suppose.  Or as my ol’ buddy Eddie Mac used to say, “I drink to get drunk.”

 

  • Brendan McGair reports in the Woonsocket Call there are no plans this year to broadcast Bryant football or men’s basketball on the radio.  Some games will be streamed – for a fee – by FloSports. 

 

  • Yo Bulldogs, not sure that’s the direction you need to travel if it’s interest in your program(s) you’re after, or if you’re hoping to make alumni happy enough to open their wallets for ya’.  Feel me, bro?

 

  • Bryant dropped its’ football opener Thursday night at Stony Brook, 35-10, in coach Chris Merritt’s collegiate debut.  URI opens Saturday afternoon in Athens, OH in some MACtion against Ohio U.

 

  • UNH head football coach Sean McDonnell, now in his 21st year, is taking a leave of absence from the program for health reasons.  Associate head coach and former star QB Ricky Santos will take over for the time being.

 

  • McDonnell is 62 and had a streak of 14 straight playoff seasons snapped last year.

 

  • UConn may have football life after the AAC, at least for the TV cameras to see.  SNY is close to an agreement, so I’ve been told, to carry UConn football broadcasts once the Huskies depart for independence on the gridiron, and the Big East for everything else next year.

 

  • Rhode Island is trying to get ahead of the burgeoning mosquito problem, asking high school football teams to refrain from early morning practices, early evening practices, scrimmages and games.

 

  • That’s great and all, but when exactly should they practice or play?  Maybe at the same time as the state Department of Transportation workers should be repairing the bridges and roads?  Just sayin’.

 

  • Not for nuthin’, but high school football participation – nationwide – is down nearly 10% over what it was a decade ago.  With injuries (see Andrew Luck above), concussive issues and costs always on the rise, it may be time for the powers-that-be (whoever and wherever they are) to issue an SOS to everyone. 

 

  • In other words, figure out a way to “Save Our Sport.”

 

  • On top of this, the National Federation of State High School Associations this week reported the first decline in participation in ALL high school sports in 30 years.  Someone should be paying attention here, and I’m not talking about the kids, either.

 

  • Perhaps eliminating participation fees would be a way to encourage students to re-engage?  Or are the adults-in-charge too dumb to figure that one out?

 

  • Comings and goings…congrats to ex-ProJo hockey writer Mark Divver, who has rebounded to cover college hockey for USCHO.com and NHL.com.  And even though he says it’s not a full retirement – I sincerely hope the Journal’s Bill Reynolds will take some time to enjoy life beyond the chalk lines.  So Bunky can be around us for a long time to come.

 

  • With all due respect to my buddy Edward in East Providence, who else is paying attention to the US Open tennis championships?

 

  • And why is that?  Perhaps a Darren Rovell tweet and poll can shine a little light on the subject: “Tennis has a lot of work to do in the United States, interest undoubtedly hurt by 16-year drought of American male grand slam champion.”

 

  • His poll asked, “how would you describe your interest in tennis?”  51% (of more than 20K respondents) answered “not interested.”

 

  • As Edward can attest, however, you might be missing a great story, and the emergence of a new star in 15-year-old American Coco Gauff…the youngest player to reach at least the 3rd round of the US Open in 23 years.  Remember Anna Kournikova? 

 

  • What p*sses me off:  Finally finding the last bottle of that BBQ grilling sauce you’ve been looking for all summer, and the safety seal on it is broken.

 

  • Sell-out City may be back.  Rumor has it the Celtics are looking to replace the “GE” logo patch on their uniforms a year before their partnership agreement is up. 

 

  • Why?  ‘Cuz General Electric scrapped plans to build a new corporate HQ in Boston.  There.  That’ll teach ‘em.

 

  • In a response I had to a Nick Underhill story on TheAthletic.com about a Patriots’ preseason game 30 years ago, @jflannez19 tweeted: “In less than 30 minutes, Ronnie Lippett, Andre Tippett and Garin Veris all went down. The top CB, LB and DL on the Pats. All season enders. It was insane.”

 

  • Jay:  I remember it well.  Nick did a super job of bringing back to life a night that, you could argue, led us to where we stand today.  A promising team in 1989 had its’ season shattered with those injuries in the 4th and final preseason game…which led to Raymond Berry’s firing…which led to Rod Rust and Dick MacPherson…which led to Bill Parcells, and you get the idea.

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Cordischi and Coit!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.