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The Colts put a lot of hope in Anthony Richardson.  Not just investing the fourth overall pick in him but the hope and optimism his presence brought to the franchise and fan base was the highest since Andrew Luck ran out of the Lucas Oil tunnel.  Less than six weeks into the NFL season and all of that is gone as Anthony Richardson is set to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.

It’s a disheartening and quick end to Richardson’s rookie campaign that offered some bright spots but was ultimately plagued by multiple games that ended prematurely due to injury.  Not exactly what anyone wanted to see.  Now, it’s Gardner Minshew’s time to take over the team but to say the wind has been sucked out of the season would be an understatement.  It’s more like someone has put a plastic bag over the collective head of Colts fans and the last gasps of life are slipping out.

Sorry.  That was a bit more morbid than I expected.  Goodfellas was on in the background.

It is just a kick right in the little guys though.  Not only that but it only further complicates things for the Colts and their future.  They’ve invested the fourth overall pick in Richardson.  They got a whopping 10 quarters to see what he could do and now put the season in the hands of Minshew, a journeyman veteran quarterback who is on a one-year deal.  What they saw from Richardson were flashes of brilliance and other plays that made you scratch your head.

The real issue is going to be what do the Colts do going forward?  The rest of this season seems almost like a wash at this point.  There will be wins still on the schedule but they’ll feel empty without Richardson at the helm.  And if the losses pile up and the draft pick starts getting higher and higher on the draft board do the Colts start finding themselves in the Caleb Williams/Drake Maye conversation and if so, what do they do?  Do they stick with Richardson and the confidence they had when they selected him or does the short, injury plagued rookie season give them something to consider when it comes to his longevity in the league?

That’s some big picture discussion and its only mid-October but those conversations that will rev up if the Colts season starts circling the drain and the draft pick starts climbing.  The best-case scenario is Richardson makes a full recovery and comes back better than ever, keeping injuries to a minimum and has a long, fruitful NFL career.  The downside is none of that can even remotely begin to take place until almost a full calendar year from now.

We’ve got a long way to go just to get to that point.  Sadly, the Colts season has more games remaining than the number of total quarters played by their rookie quarterback.

-Marc Dykton

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