Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to The Triple Double!
Before diving in, I want to get into why I’ve haven’t written a column recently. I’ve spent enough time crying and mourning where I feel like I can open up and share.
My wife, Ashley, was 13 1/2 weeks pregnant with our third child when she went to Palomar Hospital for an ultrasound on July 30. Immediately after the ultrasound, my wife called crying and scared. Dr. Wolf had told her she had what was called placenta accreta and referred her to UC San Diego Medical Center for a second opinion.
I left work early that day, caught a Lyft and accompanied Ashley to UC San Diego. A second ultrasound confirmed what Dr. Wolf said and confirmed our worst fear: we would have to either terminate the pregnancy or risk my wife’s life. Considering that we already have two beautiful daughters at home, we made the choice to let go.
Ashley was admitted into Jacobs Medical Center at UCSD the following day, and on August 12 doctors performed a fetal intracardiac injection to stop the baby’s heart. While it was too soon to determine whether it was a boy or a girl, we know that all of us were hoping for a boy, so we’ve settled on that.
As of now, my wife is still in the hospital while they wait for the placenta to die off more so they can remove the baby and still make sure she comes out of the hospital safe. We have our moments where we mourn, but we also have been blessed beyond measure with support from our family, friends and the amazing medical team here at UC San Diego. This time has served as a reminder that while there is a lot of negativity in the world, there are still people out there who genuinely care.
I hope that my son is up there with his grandparents, enjoying all that God has to offer. Know that your mother, father and sisters love you dearly and will carry your name for as long as we live.
RIP Ezekiel Paul Bullock (4/26/19 – 8/12/19)
Alright ladies and gentlemen, back on the saddle. Off to Indianapolis we go!
THE “LUCK” OF THE DRAW
Saturday, August 24, 2019…a day that will forever live in NFL infamy.
For that will forever be known as the day that former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck retired from football at the age of 29.
To understand why this was such a shocking move, allow me to break it down. The list of Hall of Fame-caliber offensive players who have retired early are few and far between: Jim Brown (30), Barry Sanders (31), Rob Gronkowski (29) and Robert Smith (28). And among the most notable examples. All of them had stellar careers: Brown is remembered as the best running back in NFL history, Sanders was within spitting distance of the all-time rushing record, Smith led the NFC in rushing with 1,521 yards in his final season before hanging up the cleats and Gronkowski will most likely go down as the greatest tight end to ever play the game.
The shelf life for a quarterback is very long (Tom Brady and Drew Brees are in their 40’s, Steve DeBerg and Vinny Testaverde both played to age 44), and they are also the highest-paid position players in the game. So for Capt. Luck to decide to call it quits so soon was not only a surprise to the league, but sent shockwaves throughout the sports industry.
Keep in mind, though, that this wasn’t just a matter of a man getting his money then giving up on his team when the going got rough. Luck went through a litany of injuries in his seven-year career, as you will see below:
- Torn cartilage in two ribs
- Partially torn abdomen
- a lacerated kidney (that he played through, mind you)
- at least one concussion
- torn labrum in his throwing shoulder (missed all of 2017)
- calf/ankle injury that led to his retirement
Despite Luck coming back to win Comeback Player of the Year in 2018, apparently he had concerns about his longevity, according to The Athletic’s Zak Keefer:
We could go all day about the on-field factors that led to this decision, but ultimately this is what it comes down to: This is a case of a young man who was smart enough to understand that his body was not going to allow him to continue in this violent game of football, and instead of forcing himself to suffer for the remainder of his life to collect a check he walked away while he was still mentally and physically able to do so on his own accord.
More power to him. Which leads me to the last segment…
THE HATERS NEVER SLEEP
When the announcement of Luck’s retirement hit the airwaves, it couldn’t have come as a worst time: it was leaked halfway through the Colts’ preseason game against the Chicago Bears.
So when Luck was walking off Lucas Oil Field for the last time, this was the lasting memory he was given:
Considering the fickle nature of sports fans in general, I guess this wasn’t surprising. However, this was a classless move by the Indianapolis fans who claim to have cared about their ‘team’. From the looks of it, they cared more about their own entertainment rather than the human being who literally pissed blood for the sake of helping the Colts win.
As if that wasn’t enough, Luck didn’t just get it from fans. Former NFL player and current CBS Sports college football analyst Steve Beuerlein put in his two cents regarding the timing of the decision in a Twitter thread.
He wasn’t alone in his thoughts, apparently. Fox Sports One personality Doug Gottlieb (host of the Gottlieb Show) tweeted his response just minutes after the news was announced, and it spread like wildfire:
Immediately, many current and ex-NFL players went to Luck’s defense. Among the most notable that spoke up were the aforementioned Brady, former Oakland Raiders running back Bo Jackson and Fox Sports analyst (and former Dallas Cowboys great) Troy Aikman, who went after Gottlieb personally.
Gottlieb has since double down on his stance, dedicating a four-minute rant during his radio show on Monday toward the entire millennial generation.
Look, I get it. Football is America’s favorite sport. People spend more time talking about it (college, fantasy, XFL, etc.) than almost anything else besides politics. And the players are the willing pawns in this entertainment game, having to take ridiculous amounts of mental and physical punishment for your pleasure.
But there comes a time where sometimes, these guys have to sit down and think about whether the pain is worth the paycheck. Most recently, players like Patrick Willis, Chris Borland and Rob Gronkowski have decided that the physical toll from football wasn’t worth the sleepless nights, continuous grueling rehab or the paycheck that comes with it. And you know what, good for them for being able to make that decision while they were still mentally able to on their own.
I’ll end this with a statement that I learned from a veteran early on in life: if you are not willing to endure the pain that comes with the job you are tasked to do, then you have no room to talk negatively about the people that choose to…especially if it is for your benefit.
So for those who drafted Andrew Luck for your fantasy football teams then decided to boo him because god forbid he tries to take care of himself, shame on you. If you are a fan of the Indianapolis Colts trying to get a refund on your season tickets because they aren’t going to be as good as originally advertised, shame on you because you knew what you were buying into.
And last but not least, this one goes out to my fellow sports media brethren and sistren. If you are sitting here trying to talk negatively about a man’s well-being and his personal decision when you know damn well you wouldn’t last a second in his shoes….SHAME ON YOU.
Thank you for being patient with me ladies and gents, and thank you for tuning into another edition of the Triple Double. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.