Since entering the NFL in 2012, Andrew Luck has gone above and beyond to keep all his fans, teammates, and coaches happy. His current protracted recovery from offseason shoulder surgery suggests he may have gone too far.
The Indianapolis Colts‘ franchise quarterback certainly isn’t short on talent or toughness – his playing style has regularly been likened to a linebacker’s, and his numbers have been elite.
Luck has put his body on the line week after week for the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2012, resulting in 10 missed games over the past two years and playing through a shoulder injury that required surgery in February.
Despite playing with a torn labrum for the past 19 games, Luck still averaged 282 passing yards per contest and tossed 41 touchdowns.
Though his pain tolerance should be commended, it’s a mystery why Luck decided to avoid surgery after incurring the injury in 2015. That choice essentially risked the future of his franchise on the hope that his shoulder wouldn’t be re-injured. He missed nine total games that season after subsequently suffering a lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle.
On Tuesday, Luck showed his desire to keep everyone happy again when he revealed he’s not sure if he’ll be ready for the start of training camp. Luck seemed as though he wanted to be truthful with reporters by professing his uncertainty, but when it came time to address the fans, he changed his tone and attempted to soothe any anxieties.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano didn’t sound so casual, admitting he is “praying” for Luck’s return to health.
Luck has approached many of his problems as a Colt with a “don’t worry, I can handle it” mentality, and that’s somewhat stunted his development. With a shaky offensive line and questionable receiving corps through the early going of his career, Luck’s taken it upon himself to do more than what is typically asked of a quarterback in his first five seasons. The Colts’ 8-8 records over the past two years reflect how far he’s been able to drag the team mostly on his own.
Effort and sacrifice like that is needed to be an elite field general, but if the Colts are ever going to win another Super Bowl, they need a healthy Luck – and one who isn’t too preoccupied to focus on his own job.
Part of that responsibility rests with the front office, which should provide its star quarterback with reliable, talented teammates. That’s starting to happen under new general manager Chris Ballard. Another part of that responsibility, though, lies with Luck, who needs to be a little more selfish and protective of himself.
If he misses the first week or so of training camp and then comes back fully healthy, the Colts’ 2017 season won’t be in jeopardy. In fact, Luck can get things on the right track by taking all the time he needs to return to full health.
But if the 2012 first overall pick continues to insist on toughing it out while still playing as physically as a linebacker, he could be destined to join the list of greatest quarterbacks to never win a championship.
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