Luck, who is continuing rehabilitation on his surgically repaired right shoulder, did not attend a town hall event held by the Colts on Tuesday. However, he did a pre-recorded video interview with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who emceed the event, and it was aired for the audience.
“Oh, [surgery] is not an option for me right now,” Luck said. “I feel very, very good about where I am. So that ship has sailed in my mind, which is also a bit of a relief. I’m not going to lie.”
The Colts have undergone almost a complete overhaul in the past 13 months, with a new general manager, a new head coach and likely an entirely new coaching staff. But a significant part of their success in the future will center on Luck’s health, which remains a mystery.
Like the franchise, Luck has dealt with a lot of change over the past 13 months. He had surgery on his right shoulder in January 2017. He missed all of the team’s offseason workouts, all of training camp and eventually the entire 2017 season after experiencing soreness that couldn’t be calmed by a cortisone shot once he started practicing in the middle of October. Luck also spent about six weeks in the Netherlands rehabbing his shoulder in late 2017.
New Colts coach Frank Reich said he’s “hopeful” that Luck will be back once the team starts offseason workouts in April.
“It’s been a long journey to this point, and it’ll still be a long journey until hopefully we get what we need to get done in Indianapolis,” Luck said. “The rehab has been hard at times. The one thing I know in my heart is that I am getting better, and I’m feeling great. I’m extremely optimistic. It’s been fun to see myself improve, so really I couldn’t be more excited for this offseason and for our new coach — everything that’s happening — and where the direction of the team is going.”
Luck has spent the past few weeks in Southern California working with throwing experts. He said he has started throwing but didn’t specify what kind of ball he’s throwing.
“Yeah, so I’m in the middle of sort of a little bit of throwing, but strengthening and preparing my shoulder to be able to handle the throw load that is part of being an NFL quarterback,” Luck said. “So the focus right now is still strengthening all those muscles and making sure that my shoulder can handle it. … And as much as I have to catch myself — as much as I want to grab a ball and throw it a million times — I know I have to build up to be able to handle that point, and right now I’m in that building phase still.”
Luck spent his first three seasons in the NFL taking every significant snap for the Colts. His past three seasons, though, have been full of injuries. He has missed 26 games over the past three seasons because of shoulder, rib, kidney and concussion injuries. He hasn’t played in a game since Week 17 of the 2016 season.
“It was very difficult to not play last year and to have something that you love to do taken away from you,” he said. “And it makes you sort of turn the proverbial mirror on yourself and look at, you know, ‘Who am I? What am I? What do I truly love to do?’ And one of the many great things, blessings, of what I’ve gone through, one of them is that I truly, I can look at myself and I love football, and I want to play so bad. I love throwing a football. I love my teammates.
“And when that’s taken away from you — I probably didn’t appreciate it, how much joy I got out of that from my first five years in the league, and then to have that taken away from you gives you a perspective, and I think I’ll be a better quarterback and a teammate because of that perspective.”