Sad Andrew Luck

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck looked on at his team, not able to play because of an injury. (Photo/Walt Thomas)

I really like Andrew Luck. He’s polite, interesting and certainly a world class quarterback. There can be no question about his patience as well, as he has tolerated this Jimmy Olsen wannabe for some time now, and not just at Lucas Oil Stadium or the Colts complex. I’ve had chance encounters with him in front of the barber shop, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a certain eatery we both like to frequent at a less than traditional time of day. No matter where it is, the guy always smiles (and shakes his head) when he sees my ugly mug. While that in itself is refreshing, I certainly do not claim to know what makes him tick, and I respect him as a person.

By now, everyone in the free world is aware of the fact that the oft-injured quarterback is unable to practice without limitation. He’s also a no-go for the preseason, and that is a delicate precursor for the upcoming regular season, which starts in just three weeks when the Colts travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers on Sept 8.

The word from West 56th Street is Luck will be ready to go in game one, and may be playing in some discomfort. That “theory” has been scrutinized by a number of so-called “experts” and justifiably so. After all, the Colts have created a lot of doubt regarding their prized pupil’s health, describing the injury initially as simply a strained calf muscle, then changing their collective tune to an ankle injury, and now via the man himself, owner Jim Irsay, it’s been described as a small bone issue. I guess you can take your pick, but the reality is, the most important player on the Colts roster is injured again, and that is a major concern. This seems to be less clear cut than the previous shoulder injury that was caused by a snow boarding incident and yet to heal 100%, and while Luck has previously demonstrated the propensity to play in pain, he’s on the record that this situation is different, and his mobility is greatly compromised. The fact remains that Luck’s injury shines a bright light on the backup quarterback position for the Colts, and further exacerbates their inability to have a valid plan for just who steps in.

While Jacoby Brissett has played admirably at times and has greater mobility than Luck, he’s not the passer a team needs in today’s NFL, and the Colts know that. We’ve now heard enough of the various medical reports regarding the number one signal caller, and it’s way beyond time in the opinion of this old scribe to prepare for the future. Draft a promising quarterback in the next draft? Why not? Inquire about a talented young man laboring in obscurity on another NFL roster? Absolutely. High time indeed to explore the possibilities and develop a better contingency plan 

Luck has taken some serious punishment behind some mediocre offensive lines in his tenure here, and that too continues to take its toll. There is a 12 on his jersey, and not a Superman logo, and as crazy as you want to think the sound of this is, preparing for the future without him is something that must start soon. Sure, if he can heal up enough to play, put the highest paid player in franchise history under center and go for it. Clearly, he gives you the best chance of winning, but what is the immediate plan when he cannot answer the bell? We’ve seen that movie and it’s a horror flick, indeed. A lot has been said about Colts general manager Chris Ballard and his ability to evaluate talent and acquire players through the draft and free agency, so let him continue to earn his keep by making a move.

Don’t worry about how Andrew Luck will feel about acquiring the heir apparent to the throne, just go out there and do it, and avoid a catastrophic situation like Bill Polian’s passing of the torch from Peyton Manning to Curtis Painter. Let that inept preparation serve as an example and reminder of what waiting too long can result in.

Extra Point: The Colts will play their third preseason game Aug. 24 when the Chicago Bears come a-calling to Lucas Oil Stadium. This marks the return of former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who is now the defensive coordinator for the Bears. The guy was class personified during his tenure, and I hope the home crowd gives him the ovation he deserves when he runs out Saturday.

The aforementioned Peyton Manning recently spent part of a day at the Colts training camp. He said he was impressed with the Colts and thought they would do well this season. Time will tell, but what did he really learn in a short visit? I guess he can’t throw his old employer under the bus, but he offered no basis for his thoughts or predictions. Something tells me he’s just being respectful.

Danny Bridges, who thinks Andrew Luck will never be 100% healthy again, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com

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