INDIANAPOLIS – We have officially seen the last of Anthony Richardson’s rookie season.
Jim Irsay announced the news on Wednesday morning with the following statement:
“After consultation with our medical staff, Anthony, and those close to him, it has been determined that he will undergo surgery to repair his injured shoulder, which will end his season. Anthony is a competitor, and we know how difficult and disappointing this is for him and our team. We collected several medical opinions and we felt this was the best course of action for his long-term health. We anticipate a full recovery and there is no doubt Anthony has a promising future. In the meantime, I love the fight of this team and I’m excited for the opportunity we have ahead of us. It starts this week with Cleveland.”
Shane Steichen added on Wednesday that he doesn’t want to put a timetable on a return for Richardson, but did say there’s a “good chance” he should be ready for the 2024 spring offseason program.
Steichen did not say when the surgery will occur. The head coach stressed the long-term view with this mutual decision by the Colts, Richardson and the medical people consulted all over the country.
“That’s a just a huge part of it,” Steichen said of the long-term view at play with the 21-year-old Richardson. “Fourth overall (pick), tremendous competitor, great player, the longevity of him needs to be at a premium, so this is the best thing for.”
It cannot be stressed enough how big of a bummer this is of Richardson missing the rest of the season. His rookie season will end after playing just 173 total offensive snaps (for reference, the offense played 1,151 snaps last season).
His rookie campaign will boil down to two separate 6-quarter segments (Week 1-2 and then again in Week 4-5). He will have started and finished 1 of the 4 games he played in.
The playing time for Richardson as a rookie will have been almost exclusively have come in home games, too. He played just 18 total snaps on the road this season, leaving early in the second quarter of a road game in Houston, his lone appearance all year away from Indianapolis.
It’s the pure reps of Richardson that will be missed the most. This is a guy that simply needs to play football, and expose himself to life as an NFL quarterback. To put the 173-snap year into perspective, the Colts had 39 guys play more than that last season.
Unquestionably, in Richardson’s small sample size, the rookie showed some intrigue with his game. There’s no denying that. He was 50-of-84 (59.5 percent) for 577 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. He added 136 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on 25 rushes.
“I thought when he played, he was explosive and he was electric. He gives us an opportunity every time he steps on the field to win football games, just with his big play ability, throwing the football down the field. The runs that he had, the four touchdown runs that he had…in the limited time he played. There is tremendous opportunity for him going forward.
“He made tremendous progress. When he was in there he was playing really good football so really looking forward to the future with him.”
The debate exiting Richardson’s rookie season is less about how he looked while playing, but more to do with the lack of time on task he leaves Year One with.
Instead of getting another 1,000 offensive snaps this season, Richardson’s rookie year will mis out on such valuable, unscripted moments, whether it be in hostile road environments or having to react from success/failures and get his eyes used to all that comes with playing quarterback in the National Football League.
Questions about Richardson staying healthy can’t be ignored.
The season-ending shoulder injury is the 4th different body part Richardson hurt in his 4 NFL games played.
All of these hits have occurred on running plays (3 of the 4 on designed runs), outside of the pocket, with injuries to his knee, ankle, a concussion and now a throwing shoulder injury.
And the hits themselves have not in the malicious nature, something Steichen acknowledged on Monday, too.
For those curious about a potential change in play-calling approach with Richardson’s playing style upon the rookie QB returning to action, Steichen said that is a bridge the Colts will cross once No. 5 is ready to return to action.
“We’ll cross that bridge next year when we get there,” Steichen said on Wednesday. “But again, one of the things that makes him really good as a runner. A lot of guys around the league that run and make plays that’s what helps your offense. We will cross that bridge.”
It is fair to worry about how long of a window Richardson can offer the Colts.
While that might seem like too much of a big picture thought just a month into his NFL career, it would be naïve to not at least acknowledgement the thought.
Steichen did say Richardson will remain around the team, attending practices and meetings.
Colts (3-3) Remaining Schedule
Week 7: Browns
Week 8: Saints
Week 9: at Panthers
Week 10: Patriots in Germany (earliest date Richardson can come off IR)
Week 11: Bye
Week 12: Buccaneers
Week 13: at Titans
Week 14: at Bengals
Week 15: Steelers
Week 16: at Falcons
Week 17: Raiders
Week 18: Texans
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