A hot mic caught Tony Dungy revealing some insight into what could turn into a tense situation between the Indianapolis Colts and quarterback Andrew Luck.
During a commercial break on Dan Patrick’s radio show, the Hall of Fame coach was heard telling Patrick about the situation with Luck in Indy: "I don't know what's going on there. Jim Irsay made a comment about six weeks ago, 'It's inside his head now.'"
That’s not the first time the Colts owner has suggested Luck’s shoulder issue is actually a mental one. In mid-August, during training camp, he said this about Luck’s recovery from shoulder surgery in January:
"It's been said before, all sports is played on a 4-inch field between your ears. It's really important we continue to help Andrew emotionally, mentally, get his confidence and his endorsement, deep down his rubber stamp (in) his heart of hearts because in the end, that carries the biggest weight."
It’s a real shoulder problem, and it’s the Colts fault it got this bad
Luck’s shoulder injury dates back to September 2015. He missed two games before returning to action in Week 6. But he played with the injury throughout the season, it was later revealed.
We timelined this whole issue. There were reports of bigger problems at the start of the 2016 season, but the Colts former GM, Ryan Grigson, insisted Luck was fine. He kept throwing and throwing. Then, SURPRISE, he needed surgery in January of this year.
He came back to practice in October, despite Irsay’s insistence in August that he’d return early in the season, but has since been shut down and placed on IR.
A report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport revealed that doctors want Luck to stop throwing entirely for a few months, focusing on rehab instead. The problems he’s dealing with now are the result of playing through a torn labrum.
So, what does this mean?
For starters, it means in a season headlined by injured superstars we won’t get to see one of the game’s best young passers. Another year of Luck’s prime ruined by gross negligence.
I don’t know the ins and outs of the internal decisions made by the Colts’ brass over the years. We do know very well what the leadership void there has produced — one of the league’s worst teams. Luck never had much talent to work with when he was healthy, elevating the terrible coaching staff under Chuck Pagano and Grigson’s incompetent personnel department with his superb play.
Unfortunately that led to him getting the shit beat out of him week after week. As Bob Kravitz pointed out, Luck’s been hit more than any other QB in the NFL since 2012.
Give Luck and his camp some credit. They’re not making this a public fight, though I wouldn’t blame them if they did. Remember how quick they were to shoot down those rumors about Luck wanting to be traded? He’s got every right to demand a trade given how the team has handled his situation and the owner telling anyone who’ll listen that it’s a mental thing.
Luck is supposedly going to be back for the 2018 season, when he’ll be 29. Hopefully, his shoulder will be fully healed, so that Colts fans, and football fans in general, can still see him play in his prime years, assuming he can be the same player again.
How much longer he spends with the Colts remains to be seen. He’s got four years left on the $123 million deal he signed with the team last year. If the rift with Irsay proves to be irreparable, or if the new GM can’t build a better team than the last one, he may not finish out that contract with the Colts.