Unfortunately for the Indianapolis Colts, they're entering yet another offseason marred with questions that must be answered at the quarterback position. The organization, and the NFL as a whole, was rocked to its very core one year ago when former four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck unexpectedly decided to retire from the league, subsequently forcing the Colts into a scramble at the position. That included signing backup Jacoby Brissett to a two-year, $30 million extension with $20 million guaranteed and signing 34-year-old veteran Brian Hoyer to a two-year, $12 million deal.
The Colts went on to lose five of their final six games in 2019 to land at 7-9 and out of the playoffs, and owner Jim Irsay is now putting Philip Rivers and the 2020 NFL Draft rapidly approaching, Irsay and the Colts truly do have options if they want to demote Brissett to his original role as QB2.when it comes to the future of Brissett in Indianapolis. With rumors swirling around a potential union with eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback
What they haven't done, however, is beg Luck to unretire, Irsay recently made clear -- nor will they.
"Andrew's my friend and I miss my friend," Irsay told media ahead of the 2020 NFL combine, via 107.5FM The Fan in Indianapolis. "I loved winning games with him. I loved seeing his happiness in the locker room. But I can't comment on anything in terms of: Will he ever come back?
"Is he coming back this year? Is he coming back next year? I don't know. I haven't asked him."
Irsay does confess he still hasn't wrapped his mind around Luck's decision to call it a career, though.
"I don't think you ever quite come to terms with that," Irsay said. "He's a special guy. He's a special guy for your organization, only 29 years old. I told him, 'Andrew, this is a free country and I respect your decision.'
"I would never want to talk someone out of that because the way this game is played, it is not a contact sport. It is a collision sport. It's a tough game."
That said, it wouldn't be Irsay if he didn't at least softly nudge the bear.
"These days, for quarterbacks, they're protected more than ever," he said. "Everyone knows if you touch a quarterback, the flag is on the ground 15 yards. So I think that's a benefit. I try to make the argument (with him) also, 'What about the $700 million you're leaving on the table (laughs)?'"
Still, he won't attempt to circumvent Luck's decision, and will instead keep his eyes on what's in front of him and the Colts.
"We'll keep evaluating that position," Irsay made clear. "I mean you guys know how important that is. You know I know how important that is. I know we'll find the right answer and Jacoby can have a much higher ceiling that he has now.
"That's a possibility. We could draft someone. That's a possibility. We'll see what happens, but obviously that's the position that's very important."
The Colts will never truly close the door on a possible return of Luck change. Irsay isn't going to attempt to hard-sell him on why he should, instead allowing the 30-year-old to make the best decision for him and his family. But in the event Luck does change his mind, he's presumable one text message away from instantly regaining his starting role in Indianapolis.
"I think in the end, I just, honestly think the Colts will have an outstanding decade," Irsay said. "And I think Andrew will have an outstanding life. Will those things meet? It's very possible, but it's also not possible. I really don't have any more updated information more than that.
"We'll see what happens, but we have to go on with the assumption that he's not going to be back. If he comes back, that's easy -- that's easier."