Frank Reich 'absolutely' thinks he'll have Andrew Luck at QB this season

INDIANAPOLIS – Even a quick Uber ride from the airport here includes the question that’s on everyone’s mind: So what’s really going on with Andrew Luck?

It might be the biggest mystery in the NFL. Luck was out all last season after shoulder surgery, and he’s still not even throwing a football this offseason. As much as the Colts try to let everyone know nothing is amiss and their quarterback is coming along as scheduled, it’s alarming. Frank Reich took the Colts’ head coaching job earlier this month amid all the speculation about Luck’s health, but he made it clear Wednesday that he expects to have Luck as his quarterback this season.

“Absolutely,” Reich said.

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Andrew Luck through his career
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Andrew Luck through his career
Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck looks on during pre-game warm-ups before playing in an NCAA college football game against the University of Southern California in Los Angeles October 29, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck (12) passes against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the 2012 Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona January 2, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Quarterback Andrew Luck from Stanford University (R) and quarterback Robert Griffin III from Baylor University arrive for the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York, April 26, 2012. Luck is expected to be the first overall pick of the Indianapolis Colts. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Quarterback Andrew Luck from Stanford University, holds up a jersey as he stands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft in New York, April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck smiles while standing on the sidelines during the first quarter of their NFL football game versus the St. Louis Rams in Indianapolis August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) passes through coverage by Pittsburgh Steelers LaMarr Woodley (56) in the first quarter of their pre-season NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania August 19, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) calls signals at the offensive line against the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Indiana September 16, 2012. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck passes against the New England Patriots during the first half of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts November 18, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) yells to his teammates on the sidelines prior to the kickoff of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Indianapolis, Indiana December 30, 2012. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter of their NFL AFC wildcard playoff football game in Baltimore January 6, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Jan 4, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) spikes the ball after scoring a touchdown in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck reacts after being tackled in the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Colts 40-11. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 4, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) celebrates on the field after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 to win the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 16, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) shakes hands after the game with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) at Lucas Oil Stadium. New England defeated Indianapolis 42-20. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) gestures before a snap against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Team Carter quarterback Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts (12) and Team Carter quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints (9) warm up before the 2015 Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 8, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) shakes hands with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) moments after Indianapolis defeated the Broncos , 27-24 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) on the sidelines in the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) looks to pass in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) walks off the field after the Colts 22-17 loss to the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 30: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) watches practice during the Indianapolis Colts training camp on July 30, 2017 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Later, when asked about the strengths of his team, Reich was listing some positions and added: “Obviously we have an elite quarterback.” He presumably wasn’t talking about Jacoby Brissett.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard said everyone has ruled out more surgery for Luck. It’s just getting Luck’s throwing motion back, and there’s no set date for when he’ll be fully healthy. But Ballard also believes Luck will be fine.

“Do I have any doubt that he’s going to be ready? No I don’t,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said.

There’s not a lot of wiggle room in the comments from Ballard or Reich, especially after the Colts gave everyone a lot of couched statements about Luck’s status all last season. The Colts are definitely expecting Luck back on the field this season, or at least they’re telling everyone they are.

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It would be great news for the Colts if Luck really is back, but after last year’s year-long tease it’s tough to know for sure when and if Luck will be back. We do know, from Reich, that Luck will be with the team when the offseason program begins on April 2. Luck was getting treatment away from the team late last year, which was unusual. But Reich said Luck will be at the facility with his teammates in about a month.

What Luck will be able to do at the start of the offseason program is unknown. The Colts don’t seem concerned that Luck isn’t throwing footballs a little more than a year after shoulder surgery. He’s working with weighted balls, and the Colts feel his recovery is on track.

“The one thing we will not do with Andrew is we will not skip a step,” Ballard said. “Every step that he’s taking right now has a purpose behind it. And we feel good about where he’s at right now. Even though he hasn’t picked up a football right now, he’s doing some things that show us he is where he is and he’s going in the right direction.”

Reich said: “Everything is going according to plan.”

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Luck is a rare difference maker when he’s healthy. The Colts have a lot of holes on the roster, which is a reason they’ve earned the third pick of the draft, but Luck covers up a lot of deficiencies.

“He’s extremely accurate, he’s mobile, he’s incredibly intelligent, he can get you out of bad plays and he can get you into good plays, he can throw it in tight windows, he can extend plays with his feet, he can extend plays with small movement in the pocket, he can extend plays with his mind,” Reich said. “I like everything about the opportunity to coach him.”

The unanswered question is whether Reich will coach him this season. Until Luck is back on the field, his status is going to continue to cause a lot of angst in Indianapolis.

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Frank Schwabis a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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