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Andrew Luck experience shapes Colts’ approach to Anthony Richardson injury

The Colts saw a very promising highly drafted quarterback leave the game too soon when Andrew Luck decided to cut his injury-plagued career short. The last thing they want is for Anthony Richardson to follow the same path.

So when Colts General Manager Chris Ballard said he was pleased with Richardson’s progress following last year’s season-ending shoulder injury, Ballard was also made clear that the Colts will be careful with Richardson, having learned a hard lesson with Luck. Here’s how the Colts’ website transcribed Ballard’s comments about Richardson’s rehab at the Scouting Combine:

“Really happy about where he’s at,” Ballard said. “He started throwing, he’s on a rehab program. I lived through the last one and I learned a lot of lessons living through the last one [with Andrew Luck]. So forgive me for being a little cautious.

“… We’re here to pull the reins to make sure we don’t get too far ahead of schedule and we’re staying with whatever the doctors are telling us. But he’s in good shape, he’s throwing, he’s got a good throwing program, he’s got good people working with him. I’m encouraged about where he’s at and where he’s going, and we’ll go from there.”

That “with Andrew Luck” parenthetical was added by Colts.com, not spoken directly by Ballard, but it’s clear that’s what he was referencing: Ballard became the Colts’ General Manager in 2017, when Luck missed the entire season with a shoulder injury, and Ballard was there in 2019, when Luck abruptly retired during the preseason because of the way his injuries had weighed on him. Ballard knows what it can do to a team when the franchise quarterback can’t get healthy and stay healthy.

So Ballard wants to avoid history repeating itself with Richardson, and the Colts are going to be more cautious with Richardson’s injury than they were with Luck’s.

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