INDIANAPOLIS – Even a quick Uber ride from the airport here includes the question that’s on everyone’s mind: So what’s really going on with Andrew Luck?
It might be the biggest mystery in the NFL. Luck was out all last season after shoulder surgery, and he’s still not even throwing a football this offseason. As much as the Colts try to let everyone know nothing is amiss and their quarterback is coming along as scheduled, it’s alarming. Frank Reich took the Colts’ head coaching job earlier this month amid all the speculation about Luck’s health, but he made it clear Wednesday that he expects to have Luck as his quarterback this season.
“Absolutely,” Reich said.
Later, when asked about the strengths of his team, Reich was listing some positions and added: “Obviously we have an elite quarterback.” He presumably wasn’t talking about Jacoby Brissett.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard said everyone has ruled out more surgery for Luck. It’s just getting Luck’s throwing motion back, and there’s no set date for when he’ll be fully healthy. But Ballard also believes Luck will be fine.
“Do I have any doubt that he’s going to be ready? No I don’t,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said.
There’s not a lot of wiggle room in the comments from Ballard or Reich, especially after the Colts gave everyone a lot of couched statements about Luck’s status all last season. The Colts are definitely expecting Luck back on the field this season, or at least they’re telling everyone they are.
It would be great news for the Colts if Luck really is back, but after last year’s year-long tease it’s tough to know for sure when and if Luck will be back. We do know, from Reich, that Luck will be with the team when the offseason program begins on April 2. Luck was getting treatment away from the team late last year, which was unusual. But Reich said Luck will be at the facility with his teammates in about a month.
What Luck will be able to do at the start of the offseason program is unknown. The Colts don’t seem concerned that Luck isn’t throwing footballs a little more than a year after shoulder surgery. He’s working with weighted balls, and the Colts feel his recovery is on track.
“The one thing we will not do with Andrew is we will not skip a step,” Ballard said. “Every step that he’s taking right now has a purpose behind it. And we feel good about where he’s at right now. Even though he hasn’t picked up a football right now, he’s doing some things that show us he is where he is and he’s going in the right direction.”
Reich said: “Everything is going according to plan.”
Luck is a rare difference maker when he’s healthy. The Colts have a lot of holes on the roster, which is a reason they’ve earned the third pick of the draft, but Luck covers up a lot of deficiencies.
“He’s extremely accurate, he’s mobile, he’s incredibly intelligent, he can get you out of bad plays and he can get you into good plays, he can throw it in tight windows, he can extend plays with his feet, he can extend plays with small movement in the pocket, he can extend plays with his mind,” Reich said. “I like everything about the opportunity to coach him.”
The unanswered question is whether Reich will coach him this season. Until Luck is back on the field, his status is going to continue to cause a lot of angst in Indianapolis.
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