Luck's NFL decision is nobody's business

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Stanford's Andrew Luck shouldn't worry about the many Stanford's Andrew Luck shouldn't worry about the many people with outside opinions of his decision to remain in school for his senior year, writes John Jeansonne. (Jan. 3, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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John Jeansonne Newsday columnist John Jeansonne.

Jeansonne has been a reporter in Newsday’s sports department since 1970 and has covered 11 Olympic Games and

Here's some free advice for Andrew Luck - as if he needed more right now: Assume the attitude of American playwright Eugene O'Neill, who said of critics, "I love every bone in their heads."

Or, apply the words sung by the jazz great Billie Holiday:

"If I should take a notion

To jump into the ocean,

It ain't nobody's business if I do."

All manner of accusatory tripe and unhelpful opinion have been bandied about publicly since Luck, the Stanford quarterback widely expected to be this year's No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, announced last week that he instead would return to play a final college season. One moronic Twitter post called him a "moron." A Fanhouse essay repeatedly questioned his intelligence and motives.

And even the comments and declarations supporting Luck's decision lacked the single, legitimate basis necessary to weigh in on the matter. That is, they didn't come from from Andrew Luck. Since Luck simply issued a one-sentence statement saying he is "committed to earning my degree in architectual design from Stanford University," the only words beyond those worth listening to came from his father - former pro quarterback and current college athletic director Oliver Luck.

According to the elder Luck, "I don't think he's doing this for anyone but himself. He knows himself best." Also - and this turns the counseling right back on the know-it-alls - the criticism fired at Luck is "a Rorschach test for people's value systems," Oliver Luck said.

Start with money.

Countless online comments follow the lead of Fanhouse's David Whitley, who rages over how Luck could lose $60 million by waiting for the 2012 draft - based on the current going rate for a top-choice quarterback and the reports that an impending labor war will severly reduce such riches. "Stanford students are supposed to be smart, right?" Whitley wrote. "Well, then, who attached the junior-college electrodes to Andrew Luck's head?"

Experts out there have rushed to examine whether Luck should return to Stanford, where he was runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting this season, now that head coach Jim Harbaugh has moved on to a pro job in San Francisco; whether he should risk an injury or a less-spectacular final college year that could reduce his stock in the 2012 draft; whether the NFL's labor issues should have impacted his decision.

Might he only be staying at Stanford because it has a softer schedule next season, or because he doesn't want to be drafted by the woebegone Carolina Panthers, or because he wants that Heisman Trophy? One online post noted, incredulously, that "median annual salary across the country for a practicing architect is roughly $60,000, and he'd have to work 166 years as an architect to make as much money as a single year at NFL quarterback."

Whitley referenced "Ghandi-like nobility in turning your back on wordly pleasures. But even Mohandas himself would have to question Luck's quest for an architectural degree." (When a posted comment wondered how an editor could miss the incorrect spelling of "Gandhi," another shot back, "[The editor] didn't stay in college.")

Meanwhile, other complete strangers to Luck also offered their takes. In a Washington Post online poll, 70 percent said that Luck made the "right decision." A Sacramento Bee editorial declared, "Stanford's Star QB Calls a Great Play."

But those, too, are just opinions. As was Stanford assistant women's soccer coach Jay Cooney's belief that Luck's decision was a "testament to the University and to the Bay Area, for that matter. I mean, this is just not a place you walk away from."

Amid all the noise, trying to read some great meaning into a 21-year-old college lad's considered personal choice, it really was none of anybody's business but Andrew Luck's. Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who now has to face Luck again next season in conference play, at least offered a pragmatic reaction: "I threw up, to be honest with you."

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