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Anthony Richardson's sore shoulder not a concern as productive offseason program ends for Colts' quarterback

Richardson was held out of Thursday's final veteran minicamp practice due to shoulder soreness he experienced Wednesday, though both he and head coach Shane Steichen emphasized the soreness is nothing to be worried about. 

It it were a gameday in September, Anthony Richardson would've played.

But since it was a Thursday in June, the Colts held their second-year quarterback out of their final veteran minicamp practice with a sore right (throwing) shoulder.

"Rest assured if we played on Sunday he'd be starting," head coach Shane Steichen said. "He just had some soreness in his arm, so for precautionary reasons we just held him out today."

Richardson experienced soreness in his shoulder during Wednesday's veteran minicamp practice. He was looked at by trainers Thursday and was advised that it wasn't a problem – it didn't require an MRI, and all he needs is to ice it. The Colts always planned on being intentional and cautious with Richardson as he progressed during the offseason program, and once he reported some soreness in his shoulder, the team decided to not even come close to pushing things.

"Like we said, we're going to monitor everything," Steichen said. "We're monitoring it and if you feel some soreness, we're going to hold him, and we held him out today."

Something like this was expected, Richardson said, as he worked his way back from season-ending shoulder surgery last fall. It was a little surprising it took this long – Richardson fully participated in all of the Colts' offseason program up to this point – for the 2023 No. 4 overall pick to experience some soreness.

"I'm good," Richardson said. "Just a little soreness. I've been dealing with soreness since I started throwing – just my shoulder, but it's hard. I'm listening to the trainers that told me, 'No, you've got to sit out for a day.' I don't want to sit out but it's part of the health journey. So, I'm just rocking with them and just listening.

"... Nothing to worry about. Dealt with this before. Normally, I just ice up and just go back at it again but they said there's no need to try to rush out there for the last day when we've got the season coming up."

Richardson added this was "definitely not" a setback, and said he viewed Thursday as "just an extra rest day."

When Richardson was on the field – which, again, was every day possible outside of this week – he impressed his coaches and teammates with the growth he displayed from Year 1 to Year 2 in head coach Shane Steichen's offense.

"This has been a really cool offseason to be around Anthony day in day out and just watch him sort of operate," offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said. "Last year was obviously – it's a whirlwind for any rookie quarterback but he had quite the year, right? Hit with the injury, coming back from the injury over the offseason. To watch just the way he handles every single meeting, the way he handles individual drills with coach Cam Turner, who does a great job with him. Anthony's out here to get better and it's showing up. It's showing up."

Steichen earlier this week said his prevailing thought after watching Richardson during the offseason program is "excitement."

"Coming off that shoulder injury, the way he's attacked his rehab and going into all these offseason program deals in practice and just the way he's been in meetings, around the building around with the guys," Steichen said. "Taking ownership in everything he does, especially in walk-thrus, making sure we're wired up in there. He's been tremendous. So, really looking forward to the season with him."

Richardson and the Colts on Thursday broke for a six-week break before the team re-convenes at Grand Park in Westfield for the start of training camp in late July. Richardson said he expects to take part in an informal throwing session with Colts pass-catchers, which will happen at some point this summer.

And when training camp gets underway, Richardson is eager to take the improvements he made during OTAs and apply them at Grand Park, with an eye on Sept. 8's season opener against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium – which will be here before you know it.

"This whole little period we've had since April, just being here, it's been amazing," Richardson said. ":I've been excited since Day 1, just being back on the field. Even just putting my helmet back on, everything that I did between these two months has been a blessing. We've been putting in work. I've been putting in a lot of work.

"I'm feeling real good about it. I was kind of bummed out about today, missing the last day, but they told me it's nothing to worry about – don't worry about the last day because I had a good period of time where I was working. So I appreciate everything we've been doing and I'm excited for the season for sure."

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