Andrew Luck on Terrell Suggs' Sack: 'Sort of Happy,' Eased Injury Concern

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2018

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck throws in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Indianapolis, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

While Andrew Luck had returned to action this preseason, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback wouldn't know how his shoulder would hold up until he took some contact.

In a way, he can thank Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs for helping him in the mental aspect of his comeback.

"I told someone after the game, 'I'm sort of happy to get sacked by Suggs, a legit sack,'" Luck said after being sacked by Suggs in Monday night's 20-19 loss to Baltimore at Lucas Oil Stadium, per ESPN.com's Mike Wells. "I landed on my right elbow sort of reminiscent of how I injured my shoulder a couple of years ago [in Week 3 of the 2015 season]. I didn't feel anything. Didn't give it a second thought.

"That's a big deal for me, being able to lose that thought bubble."

After not missing a game during the first three years of his career, the 2012 No. 1 overall pick missed 26 games over the past three years.

He missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in January 2017. He had initially suffered the injury in 2015 but played through the pain for two campaigns.

Luck had been expected to play in 2017, but setbacks kept him from ever seeing game action. As a result, he entered this offseason with uncertainty about when he would be able to get back on the field with his teammates. While his health remained a topic of discussion early this offseason, he made it clear he was ready to proceed without going under the knife again.

"That is not an option for me right now," Luck said in February, per Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. "... That ship has sailed in my mind."

He was cleared to participate in training camp in July, and ever since, he has been getting a feel for the game again. He entered this preseason having not appeared in an NFL game since January 1, 2017.

For as many throws as Luck may make in practice or in the exhibition games, there is no substitute for taking a hit from an opposing defender at full speed. That can be a mental hurdle for many athletes, including New York Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who missed most of the past two seasons after suffering a gruesome knee injury during a practice in the 2016 preseason.

"Some of those plays, I told him, 'Coach, I know to throw the ball away,' but for me, I just wanted to get hit," Bridgewater said after the Jets' preseason game against Washington on Thursday, per Newsday's Bob Glauber. "I don't know if it's the right thing to do or say as a quarterback, but for me, it's continuing to knock down that mental block that hey, you can do this.

"You just don't know the past two years, sitting on the sidelines, not knowing what's going on."

Football players don't necessarily seek out contact, but for those coming back from injury, it can put their minds at ease to take a hit and get back up. As for Luck, Monday helped him take a step in the right direction.  

"I'm very, very encouraged," Luck said, per Wells. "How I feel. I feel great."

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