INDIANAPOLIS – Andrew Luck retired prior to the 2019 season, but his name keeps getting pulled into NFL news.
The Indianapolis Colts have asked the league to determine whether the Washington Commanders violated its anti-tampering rules in 2022 when they reportedly approached Luck or one of his associates to determine his interest in returning to the NFL.
The Colts declined to address the situation Monday night, but ESPN’s Stephen Holder, citing a league source, reported they are seeking clarity on the situation from NFL officials.
ESPN’s John Keim first mentioned the Commanders’ interest in Luck in a story posted over the weekend.
It’s uncertain to whom the Commanders directed their interest, but it wasn’t Colts’ owner Jim Irsay. He issued a stern warning Sunday night to any team attempting to contact Luck. Even though he retired Aug. 24, 2019, Luck’s contract tolled – three years remaining on his extension – which means the Colts still own his rights.
“If any NFL team attempted to contact Andrew Luck (or any associate of him) . . . to play for their Franchise – it would be a clear violation of the League’s Tampering Policy,’’ Irsay posted Sunday night on his Twitter account.
The league’s anti-tampering policy explicitly states “no club, nor any person employed by or otherwise affiliated with a club, is permitted to tamper with a player who is under contract to or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by another club.’’
According to the Washington Post, the Commanders didn’t contact Luck, his father Oliver or uncle Will Wilson, who was his agent.
While tampering often is difficult to confirm, the league can dole out serious punishment.
The Miami Dolphins were docked their 2023 first-round draft pick and a 2024 third-round pick, owner Stephen Ross was fined $1.5 million and suspended, and vice-chairman Bruce Beal was suspended and fined $500,000 for three violations between 2019-2022 for improper contact with quarterback Tom Brady and then-New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.
Luck retired at 29 after seven seasons with the Colts, which includes 2017 when he missed the entire season with a shoulder injury. The No. 1 overall pick in 2012 draft was selected to four Pro Bowls, named Comeback Player of the Year in 2018 and led the NFL with 40 touchdown passes in 2014. Irsay sought confirmation from Luck on several occasions that he truly was retired, but has accepted that reality.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.