INDIANAPOLIS —What's still undetermined: Andrew Luck's on-field participation level in the Indianapolis Colts' offseason workout program.
Monday was only Day 1, after all, and the team is only doing strength and conditioning work — as well as starting the process of installing the new coaching staff's various schemes and approaches in the meeting rooms for the first couple weeks — anyway.
But what is clear: after months of intense rehab work, Luck hopes his surgically-repaired throwing shoulder will be completely ready to go by training camp.
Luck on Monday talked to reporters for the first time since late December, and said he couldn't be more optimistic about his physical progression, especially considering the improvement he's seen the past few months.
"Yeah, because progress has been my guiding light, and I've just made progress. That's all I've done over the past couple months, three or four months, and I feel it every week, every day," Luck said when asked if he could give Colts fans a look into his enthusiasm. "And if I wasn't making progress, it would freak me out, and I would have to change something and we'd have to look at other things. But I am, and I wish I could put sort of a fast-forward button on and skip these steps, but I know that's totally unrealistic and at the end of the day wouldn't be good. So, feeling better. That's what I trust, and I trust in myself."
And while Luck understands the questions about the timing behind his recovery — he underwent surgery on his shoulder in January 2017 — he said he's learned over the last 14-plus months that "skipping steps" simply can't happen in his rehab work.
Luck pointed at mistakes he made last year as he tried to work his way back to the field. While he missed the Colts' entire offseason workout program, training camp, preseason and the start of the regular season, he was able to start practicing with the team — albeit in a very limited capacity — in October.
But on Nov. 2, after experiencing pain in his shoulder, the team decided to shut Luck's throwing program down for the year, placing him on Injured Reserve and focusing on a more intense rehab regimen.
"I think I pushed a little too hard on certain things and didn't give the requisite amount of time for certain things to happen," Luck admitted when asked about why he felt he was never able to get back to 100 percent last fall. "Your body, as I'm learning, will tell you 'No' in certain ways, and you've got to listen to it. You can't force things to happen, and I think I convinced myself that I could force things to happen and I paid for it. I think I felt like I was becoming a distraction. I think I maybe wasn't the best guy to be around, so I've learned from that and that's why I feel so strongly about the process and plan that I'm on now."
Since being placed on IR, Luck has worked with a personal trainer for a couple months in the Netherlands, and then spent the first few months of this year working with throwing expert Tom House out in California, where he first used weighted balls to get his strength back to par, but has recently introduced smaller footballs into his workouts to start getting a feel for his complete motion.
Luck's yet to throw a regulation NFL football — or "The Duke," as he called it on Monday — as part of his workouts, and while he has a timetable in mind for when that might happen now that team activities have started up again, Luck didn't want to get into specifics publicly.
"I'm very, very confident and very, very optimistic that I'm going to be absolutely fine and come back better than I was," he said.
Luck did mention that he wants to go into training camp "without a governor on," or, without any limitations, in his mind and "feeling really, really good."
"So, as far as participation in this offseason, we'll see what happens," Luck said. "I don't anticipate doing too much or you guys (the media) seeing me do too much out there, but I really want to be ready for training camp without the governor on, if you will."
2018 Off Season - MEDIA AVAILABILITY 4/9