Andrew Luck, he of the immense talent, spectacular neckbeard, and bitterly ironic surname, is getting ready for his first NFL action in 19 months. How’s he handling the pressure of a return to the mountaintop? Let’s find out.
What ever happened to Andrew Luck?
It’s tough to remember now in the tsunami of information that is the NFL in 2018, but there was once a time when Andrew Luck was supposed to be the future of the quarterback position — a lumberjack with speed. He carved up the AFC South in his first three years, 2012 to 2014, leading the Colts to identical 11-win records each time. But then he missed nine games with a shoulder injury in 2015. A few months after signing a contract in 2016 that made him the league’s highest-paid player, he underwent surgery on that shoulder and missed the entire 2017 season.
And that’s where we are now.
How will Luck handle a real game?
Luck hasn’t played a down of football since New Year’s Day 2017, when the Colts beat the Jaguars to finish 8-8 on the season and miss the playoffs. But he’s slated to go a quarter against Seattle on Thursday. How’s he feeling? “Nervous? I’ll be very nervous,” he told Peter King last week.
“I’m just going out there throwing balls,” he continued. “There is nothing holding me back. There are some things that feel really good, like an old sweatshirt that you put on that just fits well. And there are some things that still feel awkward and new and wobbly, per se.”
Luck’s playing with a new head coach in Frank Reich and a new offensive coordinator in Nick Sirianni, and they’ve got him on a slow-roll regimen that will, in theory, build up both his shoulder and his confidence after both got ground to dust over the last 19 football-free months. He’s throwing about half as many passes as a “regular” quarterback would at this point in training camp, and he’s working on his agility and strength as well as his touch.
It’s impossible to say at this point if Luck’s anything close to game-ready, and it’ll be equally impossible to make sweeping judgments based on Thursday night’s quarter of play. But if Luck comes back, it’ll be one of the great NFL stories of 2018. There’s still a long distance between there and here, though, a lot longer than even the Luck of old could throw.
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