If you haven't been paying attention, the Indianapolis Colts have . Andrew Luck is battling , with his long-term health very much up in the air. Making matters much worse, Colts owner Jim Irsay is apparently questioning Luck in private conversations.
Former Colts coach Tony Dungy appeared on the "Dan Patrick Show" on Monday and, as first caught by Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com and confirmed by Patrick on Tuesday, said Irsay claims Luck's injury is "in his head."
"I don't know what's going on there. Jim Irsay made a comment to me about six weeks ago, 'It's inside his head now,'" Dungy said.
Worth noting: This was during one of the commercial cut-ins of the show and, as Patrick noted Tuesday, it is very possible/likely that Dungy did not know his mic was on. Paul Pabst of the show reached out to Dungy to confirm the quotes Tuesday, and relayed that Dungy heard the comments from Irsay during a "group conversation in September."
"Wait, it's inside Luck's head?" Patrick asked.
"Yeah, [Irsay] said that when I was out [in Indianapolis] for Peyton's ceremony," Dungy replied.
"Wow. I really wonder if Luck's future is in Indianapolis. I really do," Patrick said.
"They obviously believed [Luck would be back Week 1] because they did nothing to prepare for him not being there," Dungy said after a lengthy pause.
Irsay tweeted in January, when Luck had surgery on his shoulder, that his quarterback would be ready for the season. He very explicitly created raised expectations for Luck, even though the surgery Luck was dealing with clearly was more invasive than your average shoulder surgery. You could easily argue the comments from Irsay and the.
Dungy was asked, during the obviously on-camera portion of the program, about Luck's future in Indy and believes he'll play there.
"I think it is, but I'm concerned about [his] physical health. Where is he? Because he's going to throw, he's not going to throw, he's not going to throw 100 percent. We thought he was going to be ready, he's not going to be ready. Where is he physically?" Dungy said. "The reason why I say it's going to be in Indianapolis -- think back five years and Peyton Manning and supposedly he's done and he's got this neck surgery and he'll never throw again and he goes and wins another Super Bowl for another team. I don't see Jim Irsay wanting to have that happen. Hey, where's Andrew Luck, he's not playing -- and he wins for somebody else. I think he'll be in Indianapolis."
Yeah, there's no way that Irsay wants to run Luck out of Indianapolis. But here's the catch, and the general message passed along by Kravitz in his column from Tuesday: Irsay might be inadvertently running Luck out of town with his comments and actions.
This is not the first time that we've heard about discontent circulating around Luck and the Colts. Last year during the early portion of the season, Kravitz referenced "a report out of Denver" about Irsay being frustrated with Luck; he doesn't link it and we can't find it and he calls it "unconfirmed" on a local (Indy) level.with the Colts that his agent denied.
Butbetween the ears and that Luck needs emotional and mental support from the team.
"It's been said before by one of the greatest athletes and competitors who've played any sport -- the quote was this, 'These games, all games, are played on a four-inch field between your ears.' That's where it's at. You have to be able to deal with this, not only physically but mentally," Irsay said. "I have no doubt that Andrew Luck, the person that [he] is, he's going to come out of this thing not just how he was but a better QB. When is the question. That timetable is more on the football Gods and Andrew's gut feeling on how he's feeling."
That's largely a compliment (I think) but Irsay is also intimating that Luck's issues aren't just physical. Which seems like an odd thing to say, and which backs up what Dungy says he heard Irsay say. Luck is battling a shoulder surgery. He is probably questioning his football mortality too, given how long of a process he's been battling. This is not normal for a guy his age.
And despite having received significant financial support from ownership in the form of a massive new contract, Luck is probably questioning his stint in Indianapolis at this point because of the lack of public support he's gotten from his owner as it relates to his injury status. Luck battled through a significant shoulder injury for two years before the Colts actually shut him down and proceeded with surgery. He put his career at risk because the Colts felt the need to "win now" back in 2015 and 2016. The result is a lost 2017 and questionable 2018.
The odds are good that Luck will be back with the Colts next year, but stranger things have happened. And the current situation is not trending well for the long-term health of the relationship between Luck and Irsay. By the way, this probably shouldn't be breaking news: after Irsay drafted Luck and Luck won 11 games in his first year, Broncos.of Peyton Manning, who had recently left and joined the
Irsay sometimes does not have a way with words and it has frequently left his franchise quarterbacks in odd and uncomfortable situations.