I think it’s about that time where I have formed an opinion on Andrew Luck.
I’m going to go ahead and say it – We’ve seen the last of him on an NFL field in a competitive game.
Now, there will be some out there that probably agree and it’s actually not a far fetched statement (maybe never play again is a bit drastic but certainly not a miniscule probability) whilst the common view is that he will step foot on to Lucas Oil stadium once more, but not with the same swagger, confidence or maybe even ability that he once had.
Before we get started – no I am not a doctor, no I have no idea of the finer details of quarterback mechanics or throwing action and no I don’t have any history of working in the NFL as a scout. So therefore, I am perfectly placed to give an articulate, well thought out argument as to why we wont see Andrew Luck throw another football in an NFL game.
So, how did we get here?
Luck injured his right (throwing) shoulder early in the 2015 season. Luck played through his torn labrum after missing two games in 2015 only to suffer and abdominal tear and kidney laceration that cost him the second half of the season. He started 15 games in 2016 before it was determined that he needed surgery to repair the shoulder injury that had lingered from 2015
There was a lot of smokescreen around when Luck would return and whether or not Luck had been throwing balls in order to get back on the field. After throwing in practice for a few days, Luck suffered a setback and was then placed on IR in November.
So what has happened since then?
Luck has seen numerous specialists, throwing coaches and had multiple different opinions, none of which we heard anything about and you always get riddles and unclear answers about the whole situation. Luck himself has said barely anything and when he does, its fairly candidly.
It’s now reported this week that it is likely that Luck will miss some games in this season, too.
There are a couple of things that have been niggling in this story which lead me to believe that my click bait headline may actually come to fruition.
Firstly, the first sign to me was Josh McDaniels walking out on the Colts in this offseason.
You’ve got a future Head Coach, taught from the best coaching tree possible in Bill Belichick walking through the front gate of your franchise. Surely, there were conversations from McDaniels along the lines of “What is the situation with Andrew Luck?”. Now i know there may have been a bit of ear pulling from the New England backroom staff to put doubts in McDaniels’ ear about the decision he had made and asked him to reconsider. It’s very likely, with the events that happened, that McDaniels will be the next HC of New England after the Belichick Era has ended and it would’ve been poetically and discreetly put that way to McDaniels in order to get him to essentially turn his back on more than just the Colts as the chain of events will prevent McDaniels being hired in a lot of other places.
However, I’m almost certain that the Colts were not able to give anything positive in the way of Andrew Luck to the extent of not even being able to guarantee that he could ever be the Andrew Luck that had a completion percentage of 63.5% in 2016.
At some point in the future, we will find out exactly what is wrong with Luck and get an answer as to what exactly went on behind closed doors (Luck could always get a book deal and earn probably just as much as he would in the NFL for 1 year).
The other piece to the puzzle and the bit I don’t get is, if we are still at the stage where we still don’t know the extent of Andrew Luck’s injury, is it possible that not even Andrew Luck knows? He still hasn’t thrown “the duke” and barely threw a tennis ball last year. How decimated is that shoulder?
Regardless of what state it is in and how long there is left for it to heal and get in a state where Luck can throw a ball weighing less than a rabbit (#NationalPetDay people, staying current) more than 50 yards, Luck has to remember how to play Quarterback.
You know, the most important position on the field? The guy the touches the ball on every snap (colts rarely do wildcat ;)).
Andrew Luck not only must re-learn how to throw a ball, an accurate one at that, but also how to captain the Colts sinking ship.
That is perhaps the most difficult thing Andrew Luck will have to overcome. Reading defences, trusting his team mates to protect him, feel the pressure and escape the pocket and throw on the run, make plays. The list goes on and on.
The history of players that have had over a year out of the game are not kind, nor should they be. The NFL is a brutal sport to the body, which is why careers barely last longer than 10 years. Granted, QBs are a bit longer but Andrew Luck has to essentially start from the beginning and I feel that it will come to a point where Andrew Luck will give up. Not because he wants to, but because he has to.
If he has to change his throwing action or change his game in anyway, he is starting from the beginning. His muscles would’ve weakened considerably over the past few years, the muscle memory on making certain throws would have gone. To learn this all over again with a new throwing motion and style will mean that we will never get THE Andrew Luck back. Essentially its like learning how to kick a soccer ball with your weaker foot after a year out with a cruciate ligament injury.
I just think that when we eventually see Luck throw a football (again, we may never see this at the rate it is going), Luck is going to be nowhere near his former self and it’s likely that he will do this behind closed doors for a good while to establish whether or not the comeback can ever be completed. It’s ok to say that Luck can throw a ball, or to read NFL defences, but he still has to play in the game and take more hits.
WIth the new Andrew Luck we could potentially get back, it opens up avenues of further questions about his ability to play in the NFL.
Will the Colts have to change or alter the playbook for him? Will the coaches have any confidence in Luck to make certain plays or to stay healthy from here on out and will he get that game sharpness back- both mentally and physically.
I just don’t think he can or will. It’s way to much to overcome considering what has gone on before and at some point, they will admit defeat.
Luck may just feel that it isn’t worth it (especially if his insurance pays out). He could quite easily go in to coaching and get his release that way and there would be plenty of people willing to listen. Players are now more conscious of their lives after NFL and I just think it is the sensible option to think about the long term.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I would love to see more than Luck put on that number 12 Jersey again and tear up the AFC and win a Superbowl his talents deserved. I’m not sure those talents can ever be resurrected again so if you cant give it your all, then you shouldn’t give anything as a QB in the NFL.
With McDaniels seemingly not getting any assurances about Luck, the Luck camp being awfully quiet about it all and the long lasting effects on Luck and his ability to reach his former self, all point to the conclusion that Andrew Luck may prematurely hanging up his cleats (whilst staying in the NFL in some aspect).