Andrew Luck never contemplated playing again.

For Friday's Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala, Andrew Luck made a triumphant comeback to Indianapolis, six years after his unexpected retirement from the NFL.

Luck retired from football at the tender age of 29. In September, he will turn 35 years old, which is an age at which a number of quarterbacks continue to have success, such as Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins.  

Over his six years in the NFL, Luck passed for 23,671 yards and 171 touchdowns. Because of a shoulder injury, he sat out the whole 2017 season. For a rookie in 2012, his 4,374 throwing yards were an NFL record. His tenure with the Colts was marked by four trips to the playoffs.  

Luck, nevertheless, claimed he has never looked back since quitting when asked if he has ever contemplated playing football again.  

"That part of it was put to bed in my mind in a very simple, sort of direct way"—Luck told reporters, including Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star—when he retired. "I believe that aspect of it has persisted, despite the many complications surrounding it. It was definitely tormented on the inside, as you witnessed that night."  

Chuck Pagano, a former coach of the Indianapolis Colts, hosts an annual tailgate gala called the Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala to benefit cancer research. Colts owner Jim Irsay, who challenged Luck and Pagano to knock down 16 boards in 60 seconds using footballs, contributed to this year's event and helped generate more than $1 million.  

It was expected that Luck, a four-time Pro Bowler, would rise to the occasion given his reputation for pinpoint passing. Luck discovered he loves football even if he didn't want to play in the NFL again. And he's taken care of it by doing what he terms "lower-case 'c' coaching"—coaching on the side at Palo Alto High School.  

"Football was a boon to me. A great deal. The connections and times spent with those I cared about the most, Luck reiterated, were paramount. A part of me feels—and I don't mean this in a corny way—like, you know, this is my chance to pay it forward in this game. "Part of me realized that at some point in my life I needed to reintegrate football," according to him. "I love the game still."  

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