In 2012, the Indianapolis Colts were the envy of the NFL, having moved on from future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning to find Andrew Luck fall in in their laps.
Some teams go for decades without the luxury of a top-tier NFL quarterback. That the Colts were transitioning from Manning to Luck, as sure a thing as there is at quarterback in the NFL draft, was with little precedent.
Fast forward six years, and the Colts are a laughing stock. Indianapolis has not won more than eight games or made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. 2017’s 4-12 debacle found the Colts among the worst teams in football.
The downward spiral from three straight 11-win playoff seasons in Luck’s first three years can be directly tied to a lingering shoulder injury Luck suffered early in the 2015 season that eventually required surgery and forced him to miss the entire 2017 season.
Luck played through his torn labrum after missing two games in 2015 only to suffer an abdominal tear and kidney laceration that cost him the second half of the season. He started 15 games in 2016 before it was determined that he needed surgery to repair the shoulder injury suffered in 2015.
The injury eventually cost Luck his entire 2017 season.
On Monday, Luck spoke with reporters about his shoulder recovery and admitted that he rushed things and that his rehab was not handled properly.
“One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that I’m quite impatient as a person,” Luck said. “And it’s gotten me into places, looking back at the rehab, that maybe I shouldn’t have been in in the first place. So, I don’t want to repeat those, maybe missteps. I cannot skip steps. I very, very strongly believe in that. Some things just take time.
“When I do get the urge to do something silly, I talk to myself and say, ‘It’s not worth it right now.'”
The Indianapolis Star reports that Luck compensated to adjust for his injury while throwing with the torn labrum, a decision that ultimately caused further damage and led to Luck’s surprising absence on the field last season.
Luck acknowledged that some mistakes made were his.
“If you look back – I don’t want to get into shoulda, coulda, woulda – but I’ve learned from the point of injury on,” Luck said. “If it ever happened again, maybe this is how I would handle it. There are certain things that I wish I would have handled differently.
“If it sounds like I’m saying it’s my fault, I’m not going to argue with you on it. I’m also not whipping myself across my back for anything that I’ve done.”
Luck told reporters that his shoulder is “feeling really good” and that he is optimistic about his progress and return to Pro Bowl form. He also admitted that he is not yet throwing an NFL football.
“I have not picked up (an NFL football) and started throwing it yet,” Luck said. “I don’t want to skip steps. I’m trusting the process that I’m in right now very very much. I’m trusting myself in this process. And when the time is right, I’ll pick it up.”
Luck’s candid admission that his injury rehab wasn’t handled properly is a bit of a surprise. It’s been an open secret in the NFL that that was the case, made apparent by his unexpected lost 2017 season. But Luck is one of the NFL’s best at quarterback-talk with the media, generally sticking to cliches and avoiding saying anything of much substance or insight.
While it’s refreshing to hear him speak so openly, it’s going to be difficult for Colts fans to trust anything about Luck’s throwing shoulder until he’s back on a field and throwing the ball well and without further injury.
Related NFL video on Yahoo Sports
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Masters champ Patrick Reed’s sad family situation
• Humboldt Broncos tragedy takes another awful turn
• Bomb joke at LAX gets Packers WR arrested
• Kevin Iole: Rousey sheds dark UFC past with stirring WWE debut