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Andrew Luck to be Eased Back in Once Colts Offseason Program Gets Underway

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It feels as though it’s been several years since we’ve seen Andrew Luck throw a football in uniform. Additionally, it feels as though we’ve been talking about how long it’s been since Luck has been in uniform for several years as well.

For Chris Ballard, it appears as though this situation has been equally tiresome.

The Indianapolis Colts GM joined The Grady and Big Joe Show on 1070 the Fan this morning to talk about everything from how he sees the interior offensive line talent in the draft to discussing the trade with the New York Jets and the team’s release of Johnathan Hankins.

Ballard agreed that the return of Luck would be a long time coming as it’s been a constant talking point for a full calendar year. He admitted — more or less — that it was as agitating for him to constantly answer questions about it as it is for the local media to have to ask the questions themselves.

However, when asked by Kevin Bowen — who was filling in for the day — about Luck’s availability as the team’s offseason program kicks off in early April, Ballard continued to sound encouraged about Luck being brought back into the fold.

“We’ll ease him along. I mean, he’s in a great place right now, but we’ll ease him along. He’ll be involved, he wants to be with his teammates, he wants to be involved in the offense. He was just in town this last weekend for four days. It was great to see him, he looks great.”

If there is something at all that we can take away from that statement, it’s that it sounds as if Ballard feels it’s reasonable that Luck may be ready to throw a football, but that he won’t be chucking the ball around the field as if it’s his college pro day either. It feels more likely that Luck won’t throw at all right away, rather that he’ll take more of a strength and conditioning approach to his return to a normal throwing routine.

Ballard also talked about how important he feels the signing of Rusty Jones was this offseason who is the Colts new director of sport performance, otherwise known as the team’s strength and conditioning coach for dummies like us.

“One of the best hires that we’ve made here is a man by the name of Rusty Jones. I was with Rusty for nine years in Chicago, and also, he happened to be Frank Reich’s strength coach when he was in Buffalo when Bill [Polian] was the GM there. Rusty Jones might’ve been as good a free agent acquisition as we’ve made all offseason in the difference he’s going to make with this football team.”

This certainly gives us the indication that Jones will be heavily involved in Luck’s process of returning to the field in a more substantive fashion, and that he believes Jones can expedite the process. This doesn’t actually make us any smarter, or clue us in to when we’ll see some significant action from Luck, but it may at least make Colts fans a bit more confident in his return sooner rather than later.