Andrew Luck ‘very thankful’ for six years with Chuck Pagano

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 11: Head coach Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrate after defeating the Denver Broncos 24-13 in a 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 11, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Andrew Luck isn’t apprehensive regarding the uncertainty hovering over the Indianapolis Colts, he’s eager to see what it brings.

The franchise’s most indispensable player reacted Monday to the firing of coach Chuck Pagano and the subsequent ripples that loom, all the while looking ahead with optimism.

“At the end of every NFL season there’s change,’’ Luck told “We know this is professional sports. Guys are also excited to see what the new year brings.’’

That certainly includes Luck’s status. He returned from the Netherlands last week where he underwent a six-week rehab session with a personal trainer on his right shoulder. He’s expected to resume throwing soon.

On a team level, the Colts must rebound from their 4-12 finish. They failed to make the playoffs in a third straight season for the first time in nearly a quarter century.

“Hope springs eternal,’’ Luck said. “I’m excited for the new year, excited to be healthy, excited for the guys. There was so much fight this year from all the guys.

“Was very proud to say I was still a Colt and watch those guys represent.’’

The Colts already have begun their search to replace Pagano. They’ve asked permission to talk with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Luck was asked the qualities he values in a head coach.

“Trust, loyalty and respect are the pillars of the horseshoe,’’ he said. “I’m sure Chris Ballard will do a great job of getting the right guy here.’’

Luck’s NFL career began in 2012 and coincided with Pagano’s arrival as head coach. The connection grew tight and obviously will remain.

“I’ll be forever indebted to coach Pagano,’’ he said. “He’s been an incredible leader, an incredible friend. We’ve shared a lot of good memories, some not so good memories.

“I feel fortunate to count him as a friend and count him as someone in my life. I know he’s going to be successful whatever he is next. Very thankful, very fortunate to have spent these last six years with him.’’