The Colts are placing Andrew Luck on IR and commencing a shutdown of their franchise quarterback, the team announced.
Luck told the team’s website he’s “very optimistic” about his future, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets Luck’s being shut down on the recommendation of several doctors. He adds this is not being viewed as a career-ending injury.
“I wish I was better and 100 percent this season, but that’s not the case,” Luck said. “I know I’ll be better from this. I know I’ll be a better quarterback, teammate, person and player from this, and I’m excited for the future.”
Luck had a cortisone injection done in his shoulder to help the pain he began experiencing after resuming workouts, and he hadn’t practiced since. Although Luck’s timetable was murky for most of this season, Chris Ballard said (via Mike Chappell of IndySportsCentral, on Twitter) the team did not attempt to mislead and called this a fluid situation. Ballard said Luck’s soreness did not calm down after the injection, but the rookie GM did not say another surgery was on tap (Twitter links, via Chappell).
However, Ballard won’t put a time frame on when Luck will again resume throwing (Twitter link, via Chappell).
Ballard also said (via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, on Twitter) he hasn’t heard from one doctor that this is a career-ending injury. The Colts as of now are planning on Luck being ready for the 2018 season, per Ballard (via Chappell, on Twitter).
“We’re going to exhaust all resources because the best interest is the player,” Chuck Pagano said. “It’s long-term, and we said that. It’s for the next 10, 12 years for this guy and for any player. Before we put anybody out there, we’re going to make sure he’s right so we’re going to stick to that process.”
Luck’s injury could have affected Pagano significantly. It’s unlikely he’ll get to coach Luck again. The Colts are 2-6 after consecutive seasons without playoff berths, and given that Ballard did not hire him, the sixth-year Indianapolis coach looms as an obvious Black Monday candidate.
Ballard confirmed the Colts attempted to sign quarterbacks during the summer when it looked like Luck was not going to be ready in time for this season, but the recent GM hire said (Twitter links, via Holder) the team didn’t find anyone it liked and the situation ended up being stabilized once Jacoby Brissett arrived. Ballard did say (via Chappell, on Twitter) he regrets waiting until September to trade for Brissett. Although, it’s uncertain if the Patriots would have pulled the trigger much earlier since he was a candidate to make their roster — one that housed a deeper wideout corps prior to Julian Edelman‘s injury, one that induced the Pats to acquire Phillip Dorsett — during training camp. Brissett is signed through the 2019 season.
The Colts attempted to sign Nate Sudfeld off the Eagles’ practice squad this week, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets, but they worked out four other quarterbacks late last month. The Eagles promoted Sudfeld to their active roster on Wednesday. Rapoport notes (on Twitter) Josh Johnson is likely to be the player signed to fill Luck’s roster spot.
Indianapolis’ brass continued to push back Luck’s timetable after his January surgery, much like the Bill Polian-led regime did with Peyton Manning‘s in 2011, and this will end up being the second time in seven seasons the team will have had to redshirt its franchise quarterback.
Luck, though, is obviously in no danger of being cut after this season. However, this shoulder problem lingered for two years, with Albert Breer of SI.com noting (on Twitter) he played through injury for two years and is paying for it now. Luck missed nine games in 2015 but missed just one last season, and the 2016 absence was because of a concussion. The Colts have not advanced to the playoffs since Luck’s third season.
The Colts will now turn things over to Brissett as Luck’s rehab shifts toward the long-term.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.