Wesley Walker on Andrew Luck's Retirement: 'I Know What You're Talking About'

LISTEN: Former Jets WR Reveals Injuries With Amy Lawrence

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
September 05, 2019 - 8:25 am
Former New York Jets wide receiver Wesley Walker addresses the crowd during a haltime ceremony inducting him and former Jets ALl-Pro defensive lineman Mark Gastineau into the Jets' Ring of Honor against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium on October 8,

Al Bello/Getty Images


Andrew Luck shocked the NFL universe when he chose to walk away from the Indianapolis Colts and the NFL at 29 years old. Injuries Luck endured over the last few seasons caught up to him and the former Stanford native retired from football during arguably the midst of his career. He was showered with booing as he walked off the Lincoln Oil Stadium field during the team's third preseason game.

It seemed like those fans didn't understand the physical toll football took on the franchise quarterback. Former NFL wide receiver Wesley Walker knows all too well the impact playing in the league has on somebody years after they last suited up. He revealed on "After Hours with Amy Lawrence" that Luck's sudden retirement caused him to become emotional.

"A lot of people don't know me," Walker said. "There are people close to me and I'm very emotional but when I heard him speak at his press conference, I've been through a series of injuries and I know what that feels like. I can remember my last year; I couldn't even bend over to touch my toes not knowing I had a real serious back injury.

"Not only my back but my neck and you're trying to get through training camp but I remember taking vicoden just to get through practice. You're taking injections, I was getting my knee drained before games and all this culminating and when you're trying to get ready and prepare yourself - and you're playing against some caliber people - you have to be on your game."

Walker spent the entirety of his 13-year playing career with the New York Jets. He's was also one of the franchise's most dominant wide outs. He ranks second All Time in receiving yards in team history (8,306).

"I used to have some of the trainers say, 'Wesley Walker at 50% is better than your backup at 100%', which is - you've got to be crazy to think that way to get on the field where you're taking a chance being hurt seriously," Walker said. "All my injuries have culminated from playing in the National Football League and, to be honest with you, most of my major surgeries have after my career. I had a very serious neck injury in '86. I was contemplating retirement and I played three years more than probably what I should have. Since then, I've had 14 screws put in there, a plate and cage."

The 64-year-old reflected on the numerous surgeries to his back, neck and shoulder following his retirement in 1989, when he was 34 years old. 

"Right now, I'm struggling. People don't see me - They'll see me in a suit and tie and I'm out, they'll say, 'you look like you can still play!' but I have all of this atrophy ... I'm losing motor function in my right hand," Walker said. "I used to shake a lot and I have different things in both left and right handed that - it's even hard to explain what I get, where my ligaments catch and I have this pain with tingling, numbness. I haven't felt my feet - they're numb since 1986."

Luck's speech reiterated Walker's regret of playing football, knowing the physical consequences as a result of years of wear and tear. 

"When Andrew was talking I'm saying to myself, 'I don't even play anymore but I know what you're talking about and how you don't feel good,' Walker said. "Most players say they would play this game, they would do it all over again. If I knew what would be taken place right now, the way I'm feeling, there would be no way I would play this game."

Click the audio player below to listen to Walker's interview in its entirety.