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Frank Reich, Chris Ballard Speak At Combine: On Luck, Gore, Draft Class

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard on Wednesday spoke to the media at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, giving updates on Andrew Luck, Frank Gore, the draft class and more.


INDIANAPOLIS —Wednesday was the official start of the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and the host city's team had plenty of news and updates to share in their afternoon media sessions.

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard each spoke to reporters now one day after the team finalized its 2018 coaching staff, and about 2 1/2 weeks into Reich's first year at the helm of the franchise.

Here's some quick hitters on what the two had to share on Wednesday. Keep checking today and throughout the week for more in-depth pieces on each bit of news, as well as much more from the Combine:

• Reich said quarterback Andrew Luck, who continues to rehab his surgically-repaired right shoulder out in California, is expected to be back with the team when it starts its offseason workout program on April 2. Luck, according to Reich, is yet to begin throwing a football as part of his training regimen, but the first-year head coach said the team is pleased with his progress as he continues re-gaining his strength and mobility to eventually get to that point. Ballard, as he has said consistently over the last year, said the team and Luck will be careful not to set any official timelines for a potential return, and that they won't skip steps in his recovery to get to that point any quicker.

• It appears veteran running back Frank Gore, an unrestricted free agent-to-be, won't be returning to the Colts for a fourth season in 2018. Reich said Gore and Ballard had a conversation earlier this offseason in which the Colts expressed a desire to get younger at the running back position, while also hoping Gore could find an ideal situation for his career path elsewhere. Asked later about Gore, Ballard confirmed the team's plans at the running back position, but had nothing but praise for Gore, the league's fifth all-time leading rusher who he considers a first-ballot Hall of Famer and ultimate teammate and leader.

• Quickly on the running back position: Ballard said he feels good about the players currently on the roster in Marlon Mack, Robert Turbin, Matt Jones and Josh Ferguson. On Jones — a third-round pick by the Washington Redskins in the 2015 NFL Draft — Ballard said the big back really started to come along in practices towards the end of the season, and could be a viable option moving forward.

• Reich said the Colts won't have a fully-dedicated "quarterbacks coach," this season; rather, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, assistant quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady and himself will split up those duties. Reich and Sirianni have each been quarterbacks coaches at other stops in their NFL coaching careers, while Brady had spent the previous five seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts.

• Ballard talked about the bevy of options available for the Colts with the No. 3-overall pick. While he's excited about the possibility to take a game changer on offense or defense, he also was asked about the possibility of trading down to acquire more picks. Ballard said the cost-benefit of any trade-down scenarios, of course, would have to be weighed at the time the opportunity would be presented; while collecting more picks, and more depth, is always an option, Ballard also wants to be careful not to give up the opportunity to pick a potential star and every-down playmaker at No. 3 overall.

• Asked about the 2018 draft class specifically, Ballard said he saw depth particularly along the offensive line — and in the interior, especially — as well as at running back. Both could be considered positions of need for Indianapolis heading into free agency, which begins March 14, and the draft, which begins at the end of April.

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