Hall of Fame coach and current NFL analyst Tony Dungy said Monday that Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has said that quarterback Andrew Luck’s injury is “inside his head.”
Dungy, who coached Indianapolis to its only Super Bowl victory in February 2007, made the comment during a live look-in at Dan Patrick’s radio show during its television simulcast on the Audience Network, ESPN.com reported Tuesday.
“I don’t know what’s going on there, I really don’t,” Dungy said during the look-in. “Is he going to play? Jim Irsay made a comment about six weeks ago, ‘You know, it’s inside his head now.’”
Patrick followed up by asking the former Colts coach: “Wait, it’s inside Luck’s head?”
“Yeah, he said that I guess when I was up there for Peyton’s (Manning’s) ceremony,” Dungy said.
The Colts unveiled a statue of former Colts quarterback Manning outside Lucas Oil Stadium on Oct. 7 and retired his No. 18 the next day at halftime of a game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Dungy, who coached the Colts from 2002-08, on Tuesday clarified with ProFootballTalk.com that Irsay didn’t make the comments to him directly, according to ESPN.com.
“I never had a conversation with Jim Irsay,” Dungy told the website. “I never said I had a conversation with Jim Irsay.”
The only time Irsay has publicly talked about Luck needing to overcome mental hurdles, however, was Aug. 31, following the Colts’ final preseason game when he addressed reporters.
“It’s a great question, because it’s been said before by one of the greatest athletes and competitors who’ve played any sport — the quote was this: ‘These games, all games, are played on a four-inch field between your ears.’ That’s where it’s at. You have to be able to deal with this, not only physically, but mentally. I have no doubt that Andrew Luck, the person we know that he is, he’s going to come through this thing — and he and I have had long talks about it — not just as good as he was, but a better quarterback. When is the question. That timetable is gonna be more on, really, the football gods and Andrew’s gut feeling on how he’s feeling,” he said that night, according to the ESPN.com report.
Luck had surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He practiced multiple times last month before being shut down and given a cortisone shot. When the soreness in his shoulder didn’t subside, Luck was placed on injured reserve by the Colts last week.
Jacoby Brissett has replaced Luck as the Colts’ starting quarterback. The team is 3-5 with Brissett starting and are 3-6 (quarterback Scott Tolzien started Week 1) going into Sunday’s home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“The consensus from all the doctors is to continue rehab, to be patient and continue rehab,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said last week. “The shoulder is subjective and after a surgery everybody’s different, everybody rehabs at a different way. So we’re going to shut his throwing down and we’re going to continue to rehab. We’re going to continue hard rehab.”
Luck originally injured his shoulder during the 2015 season in Week 3 at Tennessee. He missed two games because of his shoulder and then missed the final seven games of that season due to a lacerated kidney. Luck missed a game last season with a concussion and all of this season with the shoulder injury.