Colts With A Simple Answer To Andrew Luck Trade Offers: 'No'

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Saturday he has received calls from other teams within the past six months inquiring about the availability of quarterback Andrew Luck, but never came close to considering it.

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INDIANAPOLIS — Chris Ballard is always willing to consider ways to improve the Indianapolis Colts' roster.

As such, he'll pick up the phone and at least listen to any offer that comes his way from the National Football League's 31 other general managers.

But when he received calls last October from other teams asking about the availability of quarterback Andrew Luck, Ballard said he couldn't help but laugh.

"We're not trading Andrew Luck," Ballard said with a laugh Saturday evening, recalling those conversations. "I'm not putting that on my resumé."

News of the possibility of other teams inquiring about Luck surfaced Saturday, when Colts owner Jim Irsay hinted at the topic during a media session with the local Indianapolis media towards the tail end of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Repeatedly expressing his confidence in Luck — who continues an intense rehab regimen on his surgically-repaired right shoulder — that he'll be ready to go this season, Irsay backed it up by saying: "Trust me, there were people that would've given an unprecedented amount of draft picks, all with a No. 1 (pick) behind them, for him, and we wouldn't even think of drifting in that direction."

"He's our guy," Irsay continued. "We feel 100-percent confident that he is going to come back and lead this football team with some of the new teammates he's accumulated to great things."

Irsay said he didn't want to "go any deeper" into those scenarios, but did add: "Let's just say that I think the rest of the league is anticipating (Luck) to return and play great."

Asked about those comments later in the evening, Ballard confirmed that he did receive calls from multiple teams last October, before the league's trading deadline, asking if he would ever put Luck on the trade block.

At the time, Luck was a couple days away from being placed on the season-ending Injured Reserve list after attempting to return to the practice field a couple weeks prior, only to experience soreness and swelling in his surgically-repaired shoulder.

Knowing Luck's role as the Colts' franchise quarterback — whether he was on the field of not — was too valuable for any sort of offers, it didn't take long, at all, for Ballard to reject all offers thrown his way.

"Look, we had some calls last year at the trade deadline," Ballard said. "And I just — c'mon man. I'm not taking those seriously."

Luck is currently wrapping up the strength portion of his rehab work, and participated, in an extremely limited capacity, during drills in this week's voluntary veteran minicamp practices at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

While he's yet to throw a regulation NFL football since his attempt to return to practice last October, Ballard said the strength work Luck has been doing is conducive to that very same motion.

Luck said he hopes to be throwing the football without restrictions by the start of training camp, and from there, he can continue building momentum towards the regular season.

"The progress that he has made, it's a stepping stone process," Irsay said of Luck. "He's gotta go through practices. He's gotta get roughed up a little by his teammates, he's gotta get roughed up in the preseason. He's gotta play regular season when it's all on the line.

"You guys know that this is a process," he continued. "Football players like Drew Brees have come through (a similar shoulder surgery) and for a decade had excellence. We feel that we have a guy for the next 10 years who's going to be a great, great football player."

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