INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay expects Andrew Luck to be his old self next season.
If trading away the third overall pick or adding two of the best offensive linemen in this year's NFL draft wasn't enough to convince doubters, perhaps turning down trade inquiries for Luck will.
At an impromptu news conference during Saturday's draft, Irsay acknowledged the Colts were contacted about acquiring Luck and the Colts had no interest in dealing the face of the franchise.
"Trust me, there are people who would have given an unprecedented amount of draft picks for him, all with a No. 1 behind them and we wouldn't even consider it," Irsay said. "He (Luck) is our guy and we're confident about that. Let's just say, I think the rest of the league is anticipating him to return and play great."
Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, missed all of last season after having surgery for a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.
He's been on the field for Indy's offseason workouts, but still isn't throwing a regulation-sized football.
Earlier this week, general manager Chris Ballard acknowledged the Colts wouldn't have made the March deal with the New York Jets to move back three spots if they hadn't believed Luck was healthy.
Irsay went even further Saturday, less than 48 hours after choosing guard Quenton Nelson, the highest-rated offensive lineman in the draft, at No. 6 overall and less than 24 hours after selecting guard Braden Smith at No. 37 overall.
"If we had any doubts, we would have obviously talked about the quarterback position (in the draft) but we really don't have any doubts," Irsay said. "Again, until he goes out and does it, it's going to be a matter of great interest and debate. It's just the way it is. But I'm very confident, having followed his rehab extremely closely, he's going to come back this season."
Without Luck, the Colts endured their first losing season since 2011 and missed the playoffs for the third straight year.
But if he's healthy, Irsay believes the complexion of the Colts could completely change.
"Only Andrew can decide how far we are away because he's a magic man and there are only a few magic man and you know who they are," Irsay said. "But if he's healthy and he's back, he makes up for a lot of deficiencies. Can he take you all the way? We'll have to see how good Chris is at plugging the holes on defense and things like that."
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