Colts’ notebook: If football wasn’t fun for Andrew Luck: ‘I would quit. I would retire’

WESTFIELD, Ind. – The smile is omnipresent. It flashes across Andrew Luck’s face when he’s chatting with the media, and even can be seen through the face mask on his helmet when he’s running the Indianapolis Colts offense.

“I reiterate what I said earlier,’’ he said Saturday afternoon as the Colts’ closed training camp at Grand Park, “I’m having so much fun playing football again.’’

Good thing.

The alternative is something Colts fans – and Colts management – don’t want to consider.

“There were some times when I wasn’t having so much fun,’’ Luck said.

That undoubtedly was in reference to his 19-month journey following January 2017 surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. It included the 2016 season when he played with constant pain in his shoulder and only with the aid of pain-numbing injections, and certainly last season when his rehab stalled and he missed all 16 games.

The alternative to Luck not enjoying what he’s doing? Brace yourself.

“If I wasn’t having fun playing football, I would not be,’’ he said. “I would quit. I would retire. I wouldn’t do it. I haven’t looked back and said, ‘The last time I’ve had this much fun was . . .’. I’m not going to get into that game.

“But coupled with that fun is an appreciation of the game. Appreciating how quickly sort of it can be taken away from you.’’

Luck started the Aug. 9 preseason opener at Seattle, making his first game appearance since the final game of the 2016 season. He directed two series and was on the field for 19 offensive plays. Each drive let to Adam Vinatieri field goals.

Luck is expected to play deeper into Monday night’s game against Baltimore at Lucas Oil Stadium. It will mark his first home game since leading the Colts to a 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Jan. 1, 2017.

He insisted there’s still improvement to be made by himself and the offense, but added he’s to the point he can make all the throws necessary.

“My arm is not holding me back,’’ Luck said.

Hilton, Brent ailing

The Colts’ receivers corps was depleted at the end of Saturday’s work.

Pro Bowl wideout T.Y. Hilton went through the early portion of practice but finished with an ice pack on his left shoulder.

“Just a little shoulder issue, a little sprain,’’ Reich said. “I don’t think it’s real serious.’’

During 11-on-11 work, K.J. Brent fell awkwardly and injured a knee after making a catch and being knocked to the ground by Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey.

There was no immediate update on the seriousness of Brent’s injury. He probably sits No. 4 among the receivers, trailing Hilton, Ryan Grant and Chester Rogers.

Another wideout, Krishawn Hogan, missed practice with an injury to his right ankle. The Colts already have placed rookie Deon Cain on injured reserve with a torn ACL.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.