Like the most hirsute of playoff hockey players or the most ambitious of Abraham Lincoln impersonators, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had grown a magnificent beard. You can see it in the above picture where his wide smile presents the perfect complement to the hair follicles on his face who so badly want to shout, "We're here! For all the world to see and to worship!"

And now ... Well, I don't really know how to say this ...

OK, I'll just be as direct as possible. The beard ... the beard, damn it all to hell, is no more (via the Indianapolis Star).

When that image first flashed across my Twitter feed Monday morning, I can't describe to you the sadness that pervaded my body. Andrew Luck no longer looks like a manly warrior who has no care for personal appearances. No, now he looks like a high schooler trying to make his best impression in front of his girlfriend's parents.

[On a spooky note that shows us that perhaps there are cosmic forces at work -- and this is absolutely true -- the song "Swlabr" by Cream popped onto my iPod while I was writing this. The opening lyric from the song reads, "Coming to me in the morning, leaving me at night/Coming to me in the morning, leaving me alone/You've got that rainbow feel/But the rainbow has a beard."]

We were never asked by Luck our opinion about whether the beard should be allowed to survive into the offseason. We never got our chance to say goodbye.

We assume Luck held a private ceremony to bury the facial hair in his backyard -- surely he wouldn't be so heartless as to flush the clippings down the toilet or casually toss them into the sink drain -- but we also should be allowed to mourn in a public space.

Instead, Luck just stands there in the team locker room, probably talking about football or some other such nonsense. I ... I can't write on. I'm too upset.