By Nick Shook
Read full post on NFL.com
Andrew Luck has become somewhat of a football Sasquatch.
The quarterback hasn’t thrown on an NFL field in over a year. His Colts floundered through much of the 2017 season without him. Discussions surrounding Luck’s status turned from physical ailment to mental, back to physical. Good Morning Football‘s Kyle Brandt recently called Luck the NFL’s forgotten superstar.
And all the while, we’ve seen or heard from Luck very little, if at all.
That changed during a Colts town hall event on Tuesday, in which the quarterback participated in a question and answer session with The MMQB’s Peter King. The writer got straight to the point in asking Luck where he is in his path back to the field.
“Yeah, so I’m in the middle of sort of a little bit of throwing, but strengthening and preparing my shoulder to be able the throw load that is part of being an NFL quarterback — that’s part of being a quarterback,” Luck replied, per the team’s official website. “So the focus right now is still strengthening all those muscles and making sure that my shoulder can handle it.
“The one thing that I’ve learned through these couple of years of dealing with it is that I can’t skip steps; you have to do everything as well as possible. And as much as I have to catch myself — as much as I want to grab a ball and throw it a million times — I know I have to build up to be able to handle that point, and right now I’m in that building phase still. But it’s exciting. I know in my heart of hearts I’m going to be a better thrower, a better quarterback, a better teammate and a better Colt because of what I’m going through, what I’ve been through and will continue to go through.”
Right now, Colts fans are just hoping he can faintly resemble the quarterback he was before a flurry of shoulder injuries and questionable handling of such issues knocked him out of action for an entire season. Brandt has a point: Before Luck was injured, his presence alone made Indianapolis a perennial contender, even if the Colts were lacking talent elsewhere. Without him, they’re a 4-12 team in need of fresh inspiration.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on Feb. 7 that Luck was working back up to throwing footballs again, and Luck is correct: As with any rehab, rushing will lead to setbacks. Unlike the build-up to last season, time is on Luck’s side in this iteration of his comeback. He also said surgery isn’t an option, which is a relief to the quarterback and the Colts‘ fanbase.
It isn’t that Luck’s replacement, Jacoby Brissett, is the anchor keeping Indianapolis’ ship from leaving the port. Brissett performed admirably in place of Luck (58.8 completion percentage, 3,098 yards passing, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions), especially considering he was thrown into the fire almost immediately after being acquired eight days before the Colts‘ season opener. But Brissett simply isn’t Luck.
With a new head coach who is a former NFL quarterback and whose claims to fame include a legendary playoff comeback win and a Super Bowl ring so fresh, it hasn’t even been presented to him yet, Luck is working toward entering an ideal situation. He’s already expressed excitement to work with Frank Reich. Should he come back healthy and near the level he reached before his injuries, he could author his own memorable comeback tale.