Colts HC Frank Reich Talks Andrew Luck's Retirement, Jacoby Brissett, More

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2019

Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich speaks as team owner Jim Irsay listens following a news conference after the Colts' NFL preseason football game against the Chicago Bears, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Indianapolis. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced that he his retiring at age 29. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich addressed reporters Monday to speak about Andrew Luck's retirement, expressing admiration for his former quarterback but also a desire to move forward. 

"This morning, we talked about the word paradox. A paradox is a statement in which it seems that if one part of it is true, the other part cannot be true. For example: Everyone makes a unique contribution on this team, yet everyone is replaceable. We can deeply love and respect and care for each individual, yet the team must come first.

"Therefore, when it came to Andrew's retirement, that word paradox helps me and helps us make sense of what's going on. On one hand, we can respect and honor the player and the teammate that Andrew is and was. At the same time, we can share an excitement and enthusiasm about the team we have going forward and the journey ahead of us. Ultimately, it isn't how good any one player is."

Kevin Bowen @KBowen1070

Frank Reich’s opening statement today: https://t.co/zQJCDiTDYA

Reich added "the answer is an emphatic no" with regard to whether Luck let the Colts down by retiring two weeks before the regular season begins.

The reigning Comeback Player of the Year announced his retirement Saturday, citing mental and physical fatigue from the numerous injuries he's suffered during his career.

Jacoby Brissett will take over as the Colts' starting quarterback. Brissett started 15 games during the 2017 season in place of Luck, and Reich noted that he's worked with the first team throughout the offseason with Luck injured. The coach said he's beginning to see Brissett develop chemistry with the team's receiving corps.

Phillip Walker and Chad Kelly are the only other two quarterbacks on the Colts' roster, although Reich did not seem settled on either of those players beginning the season as the primary backup to Brissett. ESPN's Mike Wells speculated Indianapolis could target a veteran option.

Brissett said he was "shocked" about Luck's retirement but expressed optimism he's ready to lead the team.

"I've been here for two years," Brissett told reporters. "The same system with a lot of the same guys so I think that'll help us out a lot. We've gained a relationship. We've had those tough conversations and so it's an ongoing thing. ... It's still week after week, day after day that we have the opportunity to get better."

Brissett threw for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns against seven interceptions in 2017. He performed admirably considering the Colts acquired him just before the start of the regular season and thrust him into the lineup, but the drop down from Luck to Brissett is seismic. Caesars dropped the Colts' odds of winning the Super Bowl from 15-1 to 30-1 following news of Luck's retirement.

Reich nevertheless seemed committed to the team's "vision" with or without Luck. 

"We have a vision, the Colts fans know what our vision is. We're all about the process. Get 1 percent better every day and go 1-0 every week. And then we have the support of Colts nation. There's going to be challenges along the way, we know that for sure. That's what climbing Mount Everest is all about. There's nothing easy about it, not one thing about easy about it. But I can't help but think back to an old saying that an old coach of mine used to say all the time [former Bills coach Marv Levy], and that's this: There's no place I'd rather be than right here, right now."