If nothing else qualifies as news this week regarding the Indianapolis Colts, it’s that quarterback Andrew Luck looks as strong as ever in returning to the practice field.
“No limitations,” he said Tuesday, “and it’s fun and it’s been that way. (It’s) Fun to get out there and go against a defense. These certainly are very important steps in building a team and getting ready for next year, so a lot of fun.”
When Luck reported for strength and conditioning at the outset of the offseason program last month, he assured his previously lacerated kidney was “fine,” but he was still completing his rehabilitation from shoulder and/or rib injuries suffered last year.
Because Luck missed nine games in a 2015 season gone awry and he’s on the verge of a new contract that will make him one of if not the NFL’s highest-paid players, some media reports suggested Luck’s health was in question.
That clearly wasn’t the case.
“He looks really good,” said head coach Chuck Pagano. “I think he’s in a good place. Like everybody else, he’s learning right now. He’s working on his fundamentals and his techniques. He’s gone back and obviously looked at himself with the body of work that he had. I know he missed a lot of time, but he’s doing a great job. He’s progressing like everybody else.”
Pagano gave the customary speech on how the Colts will be careful during offseason training activities with players coming off injuries — including defensive tackle Arthur Jones, wide receiver Donte Moncrief, right tackle Denzelle Good and offensive guard Hugh Thornton —but there aren’t any plans to hold Luck back.
“He’s just really, really happy to be back on the football field and playing football,” Pagano said. “He’s always been a gladiator, if you will, when it comes to preparation.”
Luck doesn’t want to miss any snap.
“I’ve always loved practice. I think you guys know that,” he said. “When something is taken away from you, it obviously gives you more appreciation of it.”
The three-time Pro Bowl passer and the rest of the offense are learning the new terminology of coordinator Rob Chudzinski’s playbook. Luck is also getting acclimated with a new quarterbacks coach in Brian Schottenheimer as well as rookie center Ryan Kelly, the Colts’ first-round pick.
“There definitely is a learning curve,” Luck said. “There’s stuff every day that you sit back and say, ‘Oh man, I forgot that or I missed that,’ and it’s part of football. A part of learning anything new really is going out there making a mistake. I think the key, and we talked about this, is not repeating the same mistake twice. That’s with rookies. That’s with veterans. That’s with your starting quarterback or whoever that is. Mistakes are going to happen, but you can’t repeat those.”
While some veteran players would suggest the offseason routine is mundane, nobody sounds more enthusiastic about the process than Luck.
“There’s energy every offseason,” the fifth-year pro said. “Any lead up to a season is great energy. Then the nature of the NFL is there is always a lot of change. Maybe there is a little more maybe this year than normal, but yeah, I think there’s been great energy in the building: coaches, staff, training room, everybody and the players as well.”
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