Andrew Luck says he feared he would never play football again after missing the entire 2017 season due to a shoulder injury.
A NFL without Andrew Luck? It almost happened, according to the Indianapolis Colts quarterback.
Luck admits that he nearly quit football because of a right shoulder injury that cost him the entire 2017 season. In an interview with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio released on Monday, Luck says the thought he would never play again often occurred to him as he worked to recover.
“There was a time or two when I thought I would not play football again, and I didn’t think it was worth playing again,” Luck told Paolantonio. Now that he is back in Colts training camp, he says he is thankful he didn’t go through with those thoughts. “I’m so glad to have worked through that,” he said.
Luck underwent surgery on his right shoulder in January 2017 and did not play last season. He only began throwing a football again on June 12. So far in training camp, however, he hasn’t had any setbacks and expects to be in the lineup come opening day.
“It’s a long time away, but that’s what I’m working for, absolutely,” he said. “To be honest, it’s hard to even think about that. But in my mind, yeah I’m going.”
Luck says he has received help from several fellow NFL players in his recovery. Drew Brees, who had his own shoulder surgery in 2005, has been particularly helpful in guiding Luck through the process. Both Brees and Luck work with quarterback coach Tom House.
Luck admits the time he spent away from the game makes him appreciate the opportunity to be back on the field even more. He says he was nervous getting back in the huddle at training camp, but has found a new joy in playing football.
“I never thought I would have this much fun playing football again,” he said. “I remember walking out to the first practice of training camp and having butterflies like it was a football game. Like it was an opening game, or a playoff game. I had to take a moment and calm down a little. I thought, man that’s cool. You get to feel that again Andrew.”
In his last full season in the NFL, 2016, Luck threw for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns. The first overall pick in the 2012 draft out of Stanford, he has 19,000 yards and 132 touchdowns in his five-year career.
Luck will find a different Colts team than the one he left, however. The most significant change? The team let go of head coach Chuck Pagano in the offseason and hired Frank Reich after New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels turned down the job. The former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator guided the third-highest scoring offense last season to a Super Bowl LII title.
Last season, the Colts used Jacoby Brissett and Scott Tolzien at quarterback as they struggled to a 4-12 record. They open their 2018 season on Sept. 9 against Cincinnati. If all goes well, they will have the welcome sight of Luck back under center.