INDIANAPOLIS – Six months into the retirement of Andrew Luck, Jim Irsay continues to leave the door open on a possible return from the quarterback.
But Irsay has yet to pose that question to Luck, even though Chris Ballard and Frank Reich have had dinner with the former franchise quarterback.
Remember, it was Ballard saying last month that it’s time for people to accept that Luck is retired.
Nevertheless, Irsay trudged ahead on Sunday saying he has had some ‘interesting discussions’ with Luck.
“Andrew’s my friend and I miss my friend,” Irsay said on Sunday in a pre-Combine press conference. “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.
“Right now, he’s doing the most honorable and the thing I would want him to do the most, he’s an excellent husband and a tremendous father to Lucy (Luck’s baby daughter who was born in November). To me that’s where we all start as men and women.”
At various times on Sunday, Irsay made comments that back up the Colts thinking there’s more potential with Jacoby Brissett.
Of course, the Owner also threw out this line that everyone should remember as the offseason starts to ramp up.
“We’ll put out some smoke signals, intended to be misread and we’ll quietly make the pick and we’ll see what happens,” Irsay said.
When it comes to the hope some still have for a Luck change of heart, the Colts have the rights to him, contractually, through the 2021 season.
Back when Luck announced his retirement on August 25th, the stunning news clearly sent a huge shock to Irsay.
Even though half a year has passed, it’s still something Irsay hasn’t fully been able to grasp.
“I don’t think you ever quite come to terms with that,” the Owner said on Sunday. “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. These days, for quarterbacks, they’re protected more than ever. 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)?’
“But I think in the end, I just, honestly think the Colts will have an outstanding decade. 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. Chris and Frank have talked to him about Lucy and family, about different things. 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.”
For now though, the Colts are publicly stating all possible options at quarterback, before they must show their cards in the coming weeks and months.
“We’ll keep evaluating that position,” Irsay said of quarterback. “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.”