INDIANAPOLIS, IN – SEPTEMBER 17: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on from the sideline against the Arizona Cardinals at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck underwent shoulder surgery back in January and he hasn’t played all season. Now the former Stanford Cardinal has suffered a setback after experiencing some shoulder soreness in that surgically repaired shoulder last week and his possible return has been pushed back even further. But, for some insane reason, the Colts seem determined to have Luck play this season, if his shoulder will allow it, even though Luck absolutely and unequivocally should not play this year.

Andrew Luck Should Not Play in 2017

Colts Record and the NFL Draft

After an embarrassing 27-0 beat down at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday the Colts now sit at 2-5, which is good for last place in the AFC South. Indy would have the worst record in the entire AFC if not for the lowly Cleveland Browns being winless (0-7). There is absolutely no way the Colts will overtake the Tennessee Titans (4-3), Jaguars (4-3) and Houston Texans (3-3) to win the division and a wild card spot is out of the question, even in the somewhat mediocre AFC, where there is no clear Super Bowl favorite.

Indy should just bottom out this season and let Luck fully heal so he’s ready for 2018. It’s entirely conceivable that, without Luck, the Colts could wind up with a top-five pick in the 2018 draft, which they could trade for some nice draft picks, given that they don’t need a quarterback (assuming Luck makes a full recovery from shoulder surgery, which he should). There is zero point to Indianapolis winning enough games the rest of the way this season that they fail to end up with one of the top picks in next year’s draft, but they still miss the playoffs.

Andrew Luck is the Franchise

Luck is the single most important player on the Colts. There isn’t a ton of talent around him, but Luck can make up for a multitude of sins when he’s healthy. Indy should have zero interest in even remotely risking the long term health of their franchise quarterback. Top quarterbacks who can truly help a team win are far from plentiful. The Colts have one such signal caller in Luck and they need to protect him, not try to bring him back for what is already a lost season.

In June 2016 the Colts signed Luck to a six-year, $140 million deal, which reportedly includes $47 million guaranteed. Yes, Luck had a down 2015 campaign, but that was largely due to injuries (including a lacerated kidney). In each of Luck’s first three seasons in the NFL the Colts finished 11-5 and advanced further in the playoffs each season. Indy has holes all over its roster, on both sides of the ball, and they will only go as far as Luck takes them. They shouldn’t risk Luck’s long term health and future, along with that of the franchise, simply to potentially win a few more games this season.

Last Word

The organization may not have put a timetable on Luck’s possible return, but the earliest Luck could possibly be on the field would be after the Colts Week 11 bye (Indy hosts the Titans in Week 12). But it seems the organization has no interest in officially shutting down their quarterback for the season, which is a mistake. Even if Luck was able to return in Week 12 (unlikely), based on the Colts remaining schedule and record after Week seven, it is extremely doubtful they would be in any kind of a position to make a push for the playoffs at that time. The Colts need to protect their quarterback and remove all pressure of him trying to play this season.

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