Andrew Luck’s long journey back to football has seemingly lasted forever. The status of his multi-million dollar right shoulder has been so closely monitored that it was national news when he finally threw a regulation football to teammates during the team’s mandatory Minicamp in June. News or no, it was clear that Luck’s throwing program was still highly regimented and that his pitch count was very low. By the time spring training activities broke, the Colts were left with no choice but to hope Luck would aggressively ramp up his throwing program on his own prior to training camp.
Over the weekend, Andrew Luck participated in Riley Children’s Change the Play camp. The event gets kids active and provides them with an opportunity to meet some of their biggest heroes who can inspire them to get and stay healthy. Who wouldn’t want to catch a pass from Andrew Luck?
Did Andrew Luck rifle passes off of the bodies of these children like Peyton Manning once did?
No. No he did not.
However, a year ago he was under strict direction to not throw a football to the kids at all. This year, he did not receive that instruction. Last year, Luck looked like a shell of his former self physically. This year, Luck looks stronger than he has ever been.
This doesn’t mean that he has been fully unleashed. Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star reported:
“As for the quarterback, yes, his tosses to Brody and the hundreds of other kids at UIndy’s Key Stadium on Wednesday morning do count for his daily total, which he’s monitoring meticulously as he ramps up his routine ahead of his seventh NFL training camp. The plan will remain unchanged: three days on, one day off, one day on to simulate his schedule during the season, as Luck strengthens his surgically-repaired shoulder for the rigors of camp and, more significantly, the regular season.”
It would be better if Luck was entirely removed from a daily pitch count and close monitoring — particularly given that these were only soft throws to children. However, it has become very clear that he will strictly adhere to his process he approaches training camp, the preseason, and ultimately his first snaps in a regular season game since January 1, 2017.
Over the weekend, he confirmed that his efforts to get back to training camp with the “governor off” will include throwing passes to his Colts teammates at various times during the summer break. Dave Calabro of WTRH confirmed the plan to throw to receivers. Luck said:
“Yeah, I will. I won’t divulge too many secrets on that. But I absolutely will. It’s part of the plan.”
It is difficult to gauge just how far he will be able to progress before he returns to the practice field in late July. At this point, the best news is that he has continued his throwing program and still is not experiencing the pain that ultimately led to shutting him down in October of 2017.
“As for the most significant detail – pain. Any of that creeping in after a recent throwing session?
“No, no, no, not at all,” Luck said.”
Until camp arrives, it will be hard to learn anything new. The best fans can take away at this point is that Luck is still throwing a football, that he is able to participate in 2018 in ways he couldn’t in 2017, that he is possibly in the best physical shape of his career, and that he has plans to meet with his teammates during the dark period of summer to continue ramping up his throwing program.
All we have to do now is sit back and wait, and to hope that Luck opens camp leading the first team offense.