‘I’ll always remember where I was’: ESPN’s Adam Schefter on what it was like breaking the Andrew Luck retirement story

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - AUGUST 24: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts walks off the field after the Indianapolis Colts preseason game against the Chicago Bears after it was reported that he would be retiring at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

During an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show Thursday, ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter discussed last weekend’s “tweet heard ’round the world” regarding Andrew Luck’s impending retirement.

Schefter broke one of the biggest stories in sports, leaving many in disbelief. Many fans will remember right where they were when they heard the news–even Schefter himself said this would be a scoop he’ll never forget.

Host Dan Patrick talked with Schefter about the development of the story in an interview spanning more than seven minutes. While some stories take days or weeks to pin down, Schefter said everything came together quickly in the Luck situation. He told Patrick that many within the Colts organization knew about Luck’s decision going into their preseason game against the Bears.

He said he didn’t give any thought into “holding” the story until after the game. Once he’d confirmed it, he went with it. He said he did reach out to the Colts to let them know he had the scoop. No one got back with him to ask him to hold the news or wait until after the game.

Schefter said the team thought about holding a news conference Friday but decided to wait until Sunday afternoon–a decision that probably allowed him to break the news seemingly out of nowhere from the perspective of Colts fans. He’s shocked the news didn’t leak out sooner, considering the number of people who were aware of Luck’s decision.

Here’s a transcript of some selected clips:

Dan Patrick starts by asking Schefter about whether or not he knew about Luck’s future before Saturday. Asks whether or not he got a call or text leading up to the retirement announcement.

Adam Schefter: There are certain stories you work on for days and weeks that require a lot of calls and a lot of energy and some of them come together and sometimes they don’t. and then there are ones that come together quickly. This one came together quickly for a variety of reasons. It wasn’t like last Monday I had a premonition that Andrew Luck could be retiring, that he was having the talks that he was with the members of the Colts organization. This all came together quickly and caught me off guard like anyone else.

Dan Patrick: Was there any thought to not breaking it during the game?

Adam Schefter: I don’t understand that. I really don’t.

Dan Patrick: Look, you did it and you’re supposed to. That’s your job. But I’m curious if you thought about he’s there and this doesn’t become a football game anymore

Adam Schefter: Dan, number one, I’m at a surprise 75th birthday dinner for my mother in law, I’m sorry for not tracking when and where the Bears/Colts preseason game was when the information is coming into me. Number two, as you mentioned, that is my job when I get news. Number three, there’s been news I’ve sat on for years. Somebody has asked me to wait. Can you just wait until I notify the player of this trade or the coach knows he’s hired or fired before you report it and every circumstance is different and you manage these relationships the best you can while maintaining the integrity of the job and doing your job.

Dan Patrick: Did you wonder about when you got this information from your source, why they were giving it to you at that point?

Adam Schefter: I got the information. I never stopped to think, ‘Boy, I wonder what part of the game they’re in. I wonder if this would be disruptive.’ I wondered how am I going to get this confirmed. Am I going to give people a heads up, which I did, I called a number of people in the Colts organization to let them know I’m going to be reporting the story. And nobody got back to me. Somebody could have called me back and said, ‘Hey, we’re in whatever part of the game we’re in. Do you mind waiting?’ Nobody did that. I reported it when I felt comfortable with the information which I would do 100 times out of 100 over again.

The owner, GM of the Colts organization knew last week. Andrew knew last week. He told teammates on Thursday. He told teammates on Friday. They discussed as an organization having the press conference on Friday or Sunday at 3 p.m. I don’t know why they pushed it to Sunday but they did. That was their decision. This is a sad story. And it’s unfortunate for Andrew, for the Colts, for the city of Indianapolis… For football in general. No one wants to see him leave the game. But when there were that many people who knew, I’m shocked it didn’t get out sooner.

Dan Patrick: Is there language, if he turns in his retirement papers, then if he decides to come back, what’s the process for Andrew Luck?

Adam Schefter: The Colts put him on the reserve retire list. So he’s their right. They have his rights. If he wanted to play, they could remove him from that list and the contract would come back into existence though they negotiated that settlement where he got to keep that $28.4 million in bonus money. $12 million of it in March. So I don’t know that exact process other than the first key step of Andrew deciding I do want to play again. That conversation will come up again, just as it came up for Barry Sanders, just as it came up for Calvin Johnson. Honestly, it’s way too early to say. He’s done with football for now, and he may be done with football for forever. But it may be a year from now, two years from now he says I miss this. But he’s a unique guy. He’s a deep thinker. I don’t know what he’s going to do.

I do think it was one of those moments that, you know, I remember where I was when Magic Johnson announced he had AIDS and was going to retire from basketball. I think that due to the unusual circumstances of this story and how great Andrew Luck is and was, I think it’s one of those stories that people will remember. I know I’ll always remember where I was when that story got out.

You can listen to the audio below courtesy of The Dan Patrick Show:

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