WESTFIELD, Ind. — The butterflies in Andrew Luck's stomach were comparable to those he feels before taking the field every Sunday in the fall.
Luck on Thursday was a full participant in an Indianapolis Colts practice for the first time since the end of the 2016 season, and he said he felt about as anxious and eager heading into the session as he's felt in quite some time — let alone before a training camp practice.
But after undergoing shoulder surgery and sitting out the entire 2017 season, and then embarking on an intense rehab regimen that saw him making little tweaks here and there to his throwing motion and his base, Luck knew that going through an actual team practice — and competing against an actual defense — would be a huge step forward in his progression.
Luck talked to reporters today, after having practiced fully in two of the Colts' first three training camp practices, and said he's "very happy" with where he is physically as he prepares for practice No. 3 later in the day at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind.
"There were some things that looked pretty silly to me on film (on Thursday)," Luck said. "And then the second day, they were a little better.
"The second day things seemed to calm down, or slow down. The first day, I was nervous. I was excited. There was a certain element of unknown that I wasn't sure what was going to happen. It was also very fun to be out there with the guys and get better in practice, versus surviving, and surviving to the next one."
In all, Luck completed 26 of his 38 total passes in 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills his first two days, but it seemed like things really started clicking for him towards the tail end of his second session, as he started to look down the field much more frequently.
Offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said the increased looks down the field were more a result of Luck taking what the defense was giving him, and less of anything designed in the playcalling. Nonetheless, Sirianni and head coach Frank Reich are pleased with the progress made by Luck so far early in camp.
Now, they just want to see Luck, who hasn't played in an NFL game since early January 2017, "continue to get reps."
"Just to continue to get reps and to steadily incline his progression and seeing things," Sirianni said. "He's not going to get hit out here, we are going to do everything we can do to not do that. Just to continue to see it, continue to get the reps. Obviously a lot of plays are similar with all different styles of offense. Continue to get reps in plays that we specialize in, the plays that he likes, the plays that we like, and just see it and rep it over and over and over again."
And, because Luck hasn't been active in a while, there are some new weapons on the field for him to get acclimated to; guys like wide receivers Ryan Grant and Deon Cain, tight end Eric Ebron and running backs Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines.
Luck said it's important "to figure out how they move, how their bodies work."
"They have to figure the same out for me," he continued. "So being intentional and effective with everything we do is important."
Moving forward, Reich said because Luck is "100 percent" in his mind, he doesn't foresee any limitations for the quarterback heading into the preseason. If anything, because Luck missed the entire 2017 season, he might actually play a few more preseason snaps than he usually would.
"We will plan on him playing accordingly, based on how much we would play our starting quarterback and maybe a little bit more because he didn't play last year," Reich said. "But I don't think astronomically more than we normally would."