Andrew Luck doesn’t sound worried.
Head coach Frank Reich also sounds convinced that the Indianapolis Colts franchise quarterback’s strained calf will be healed in time for training camp.
Luck isn’t practicing this week for the team’s three-day minicamp, a decision that both the player and coach say is just being cautious.
A smiling Luck promised, “I’ll be ready for training camp and the early report date and all that.”
Rookies report on July 22 and veterans on July 25 to Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.
“In my mind, it’s a no-brainer,” Reich said of Luck being ready for training camp. “You never know. You could always re-aggravate something I suppose. … But barring anything crazy, in my mind it’s more of a no-brainer.”
Because the four-time Pro Bowl passer is so important to an organization on the rise, it’s human nature for fans to be uneasy until they see No. 12 on a field.
But after going through the same questions last year, when he was returning from a missed 2017 due to shoulder surgery, Luck assured Tuesday that this situation isn’t like an offseason ago. Reich also reiterated there’s no comparison now to when Luck’s future seemed in doubt entering 2018.
Luck answered all questions about his surgically repaired labrum in the first week of training camp, then led the Colts to a 10-6 season and their first playoff berth since 2014. The Colts went on the road and dispatched AFC South Division champion Houston in the opening round then lost at Kansas City. Luck was voted NFL Comeback Player of the Year and earned his fourth Pro Bowl honor after completing a career-high 67.3 percent of his passes with a personal-best 98.7 passer rating for 4,593 yards with 39 TDs and 15 interceptions.
“I’ve dealt with injuries in the past,” Luck said. “I think we’re on a very, very good page.”
The eighth-year pro said he suffered the injury during offseason training and it’s lingered longer than initially expected.
“Things can be stubborn sometimes,” Luck said. “I certainly don’t feel as young (at 29) as I once did. And I’m certainly also being conservative with things. It’s one of the lessons I learned going through my shoulder. I try to get the most of out myself every day. You can still get better in a sense.
“I certainly didn’t expect it either. (But) there’s a lot less anxiety in my life about it I guess than I had in the past with certain things.”
He’s been dealing with the injury for about one month.
“Within the calf strain injury, I would say it’s on the longer side (of recovery),” Reich said. “I don’t think it’s out of the range of a calf strain.”
It was a year ago during minicamp when Luck threw for the first time in front of reporters.
“No, I don’t remember that, to be honest,” Luck said, joking and then laughing with reporters.
But the quarterback, much like his team, has progressed significantly in a short time. The Colts were 4-12 without him in 2017. Reich was hired by then second-year general manager Chris Ballard. After a humbling 1-5 start in which the Colts lost a series of close games, everything clicked and the team surged.
Just like that, the Colts have gone from overlooked and ignored to being touted as Super Bowl contenders in 2019.
“I think we can take a little moment to reflect, but absolutely,” Luck said of how the environment has changed. “A lot of guys have come a long way in our locker room. I think this building has certainly come a long way. This team has come a long way.
“But there’s still so much more to go. I think people are excited in a sense. It is a little different feeling than last year at this point in the offseason. But by no means does that take away from improving and getting better. That will stay the same. I certainly think it almost always gets a little harder, the more expectations there are outside, it’s a little harder to block out the noise. It’s easier when your backs are against the wall and nobody expects something from you.”