INDIANAPOLIS —Those in attendance at Tuesday night's Indianapolis Colts Town Hall event were treated to a surprise when Andrew Luck appeared on the big screens.
The Colts quarterback was one of several guests to have conversations with host Peter King of Sports Illustrated, as well as Colts.com's Caroline Cann, to give an exclusive look inside the organization as it heads into the 2018 offseason.
King and Luck conducted a video Q&A in which we got an update on the quarterback's ongoing shoulder rehab work, as well as his feelings on new head coach Frank Reich. Here's that conversation in its entirety:King:Happy to be joined right now by Andrew Luck, the quarterback of your Indianapolis Colts. And Andrew, you know, it's kind of cool — I think everybody here in this room right now is just so happy to see you, and really would love to know how you're doing, because you've become this almost mythic figure, where everybody … has this endless wonder about you. So why don't you just tell everybody and share (with) everybody how's your rehab going? Chris Ballard said a couple weeks ago you're in a pretty good place, so why don't you just share how you're doing?
Luck:"Yeah, let's get right to it — I feel awesome. I really do. I am in a great place. It's been a long journey to this point, and it'll still be a long journey 'til hopefully we get what we need to get done in Indianapolis. 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."
King:Have you been able to throw yet at all? Or is that still in the future a bit?Luck:"Yeah, so I'm in the middle of sort of a little bit of throwing, but strengthening and preparing my shoulder to be able the throw load that is part of being an NFL quarterback — that's part of being a quarterback. So the focus right now is still strengthening all those muscles and making sure that my shoulder can handle it. The one thing that I've learned through these couple of years of dealing with it is that I can't skip steps; you have to do everything as well as possible. 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. But it's exciting. I know in my heart of hearts I'm going to be a better thrower, a better quarterback, a better teammate and a better Colt because of what I'm going through, what I've been through and will continue to go through."
King:Is it unlikely, or are you unsure, whether any more surgery's on the horizon?
Luck:"Oh, that is not an option for me right now. 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."
King:So when you heard that Josh McDaniels dropped out of the job, and then you heard that Frank Reich actually got the job, take me through your sort of swing of emotions over those few days.
Luck:"Yeah, it was odd. Probably like any fan or player or anybody involved with it … I very much admire our GM, Chris Ballard. I've really enjoyed being around him, getting to communicate with him, getting to work with him, so my immediate reaction was I felt bad for Chris, because of what he had gone through and sort of being left at the altar, per se — I guess we all were in one sense. But things have a way of working out, and when I heard Frank was sort of in the consideration and then eventually got hired, I thought back (to) the two previous times I had met him: one, my second year in the league when we were playing the San Diego Chargers and Clyde Christensen introduced me to him for, you know, five minutes, and then again out at Stanford a couple years later when they were working … maybe a couple other players out (and) I went and talked to him for a while. And I know the history that Frank has with Indianapolis, the history that Frank has as a quarterback and obviously the recent history with the Eagles. So I am incredibly excited to have a chance to talk to him, and I can't wait to work with him. I really think he'll get the best out of everybody that walks into that locker room, and I hope that we give him our best and see where this goes."
King:I think the one thing I learned in the last couple of years from watching the Philadelphia coaching staff work is that — and Frank told me this last week — all ideas, all good ideas, they're going to take and they're going to use. They don't care where the ideas came from, and one of their goals, I think, as a coaching staff in Philadelphia was to make absolutely sure that teams couldn't get a read on their offense; that when you go to the line of scrimmage, he always wanted to present a bit of uncertainty, so that gives the defense a layer of maybe not confusion, but of uncertainty…
King:…Yeah, and I really thought that that would be a great match with you: sort of, kind of a thinking-man's coach.
Luck:"Yeah, I certainly feel the same way. You know, I've always loved the mental aspect of the game. I know Peyton (Manning) was a master of the mental aspect of the game, so it's sort of the torch you carry when you're a Colts quarterback. And I really am excited to see the direction, the creativity, how you attack. I think the greatest offenses — the most fun I've had when I'm part of offense — is when we're attacking, and I feel very fortunate to have played under B.A. (Bruce Arians) and Pep (Hamilton) and Chud (Rob Chudzinski) — some great coordinators — and I'm really excited to see how Frank and the rest of the staff operates and how we attack. And I think giving a sense of unpredictability and being good at that, and still having something to fall back on, is very important, and I'm sure that'll be a staple of the offense."
King:My last question for you: I can't imagine what it must be like to have missed so much football. You're a football player, you love the game, you love preparing for the game, you love the mental aspect — you love it all. And then, out of the clear blue sky, you don't play a snap last year. So I wonder: mentally, how much do you miss the game?
Luck:"Very much. It was very difficult to not play last year and to have something that you love to do taken away from you. And it makes you sort of turn the proverbial mirror on yourself and look at, '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 — I love T.Y. Hilton and Anthony Castonzo and Jack Doyle and Adam Vinatieri. I love those guys. 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."
King:Andrew, music to the ears of everybody in this room tonight. Really appreciate you taking a few minutes, and looking forward to seeing you back in Indianapolis.Luck:"As am I. I can't wait to get back. See ya, everybody."