The Colts strongly believe that retired star quarterback Andrew Luck has played his last game and do not anticipate the 29-year-old returning to the playing field, though there is certain to be speculation about the Pro Bowler's future for years to come.
The franchise took measures to protect itself both financially and in terms of retaining Luck's future playing rights as part of the settlement they reached with him last month. One team official said as shocked as the team was by Luck's abrupt retirement this preseason, "we'd be even more shocked if he ever came back." The Colts look at the situation as being final and were convinced that Luck was truly ready to leave the game due to the accumulated mental and physical anguish he sustained over an injury-riddled seven-year career.
Rather than continue to seek more treatment and alternatives for a long-lingering ankle injury, a process that could have included another surgery and continued well into the regular season -- with Luck likely spending time on injured reserve -- the sides brokered a settlement that essentially tied up any financial or contractual matters. Luck signed his retirement papers quickly -- landing on the reserve retired list, the Colts agreed to pay him this season and not to recoup any previous signing bonus.
If Luck ever did return -- remote as the Colts believe that is -- the team would have the ability to trade his rights. But the agreement was struck with the idea that it would eliminate any potential issues down the road and provide a swift and final resolution to any future procedural issues. The Colts have abundant faith that Jacoby Brissett will be a winning quarterback for them -- albeit doing so in a different and less-prolific manner than Luck did -- and rebuffed numerous trade offers for him last summer when Luck was healthy (including offers of a third-round pick and a player, sources said). They outbid several other teams to sign proven backup Brian Hoyer to a multi-year deal to provide insurance should Brissett get hurt.
Owner Jim Irsay, after a messy divorce with Peyton Manning (that was eventually patched up), handled everything in a classy manner in this instance, with Luck leaving feeling great about the only organization he ever knew ... but leaving with no expectation or inclination that he would ever come back.