NFL notebook: Luck details ‘miserable’ recovery

September 5, 2018

Days before his expected return after a 20-month absence, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck opened up about the dark moments he went through during his drawn-out recovery from shoulder surgery.

“I was a sad, miserable human,” Luck told the Indy Star. “I was not nice to myself, nor was I nice to anyone else. I was a miserable SOB to be around. I was nervous. I was scared.”

After initially injuring his shoulder in Week 3 of 2015, Luck opted not to have surgery after that season, but a procedure became necessary a year later after he struggled to make it through 2016. He had surgery in January of 2017 and then admittedly rushed his recovery in hopes of playing in 2017 despite battling pain in his shoulder all the while.

“I convinced myself I could force things to happen, and I paid for it,” Luck said, adding that he kept waiting to just wake up one day and have his shoulder back to normal. When that didn’t happen, he feared his career was over, or that he could never enjoy the game again. “There was a time I was very scared about football, and about my place in football,” he said.

–Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters he has not been in contact with Le’Veon Bell this week and does not know when the running back will return to the team.

“I hadn’t thought about it,” Tomlin said when asked if he expected Bell to report Wednesday. “We’ll see. …When he gets here, that’s when we’ll start quantifying all Le’Veon Bell-related things: his overall readiness, the amount of time that we have between his arrival and our next competition, etc., etc.”

Tomlin added he doesn’t have a specific deadline in mind for Bell’s arrival in order to play in Sunday’s opener at the Cleveland Browns, saying that will depend on what sort of shape Bell is in when he shows up.

–Doug Pederson delayed making the call at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles because last season’s starter, Carson Wentz, is close to being medically cleared.

Pederson, who named Nick Foles the starter for Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday in the opening game of the 2018 NFL regular season, said Tuesday he didn’t decide on Foles until Monday despite reports last week that pointed to Foles.

Wentz continues to practice on a limited basis but has not yet been cleared for contact. He’s recovering from surgery on his left knee in December necessitated by an injury against the Los Angeles Rams. “He’s in a great spot,” Pederson said.

–Pederson officially ruled out wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) and Mack Hollins (groin), and the team re-signed wideout Markus Wheaton — who spent training camp with the team — to provide depth for Thursday’s opener.

Jeffery is “week to week” as he recovers from shoulder surgery, while Hollins sustained “a little bit of a minor setback,” Pederson said. Also missing practice was defensive end Michael Bennett (knee), whose status for Thursday is unclear after he was not on Monday’s injury report. Running back Jay Ajayi (foot) returned to a full practice after being limited on Monday.

To make room for Wheaton on the roster, tight end Richard Rodgers (knee) was placed on injured reserve.

–New England Patriots left tackle Trent Brown is expected to return to practice Wednesday and play Sunday after missing Monday and Tuesday with an excused absence, according to an ESPN report.

Brown, 25, was acquired in a trade during April’s draft from the San Francisco 49ers and has spent the whole offseason starting on Tom Brady’s blind side.

The team also re-signed recently released offensive lineman Brian Schwenke and reportedly waived wideout Amara Darboh, who was claimed off waivers earlier this week. According to an NFL Network report, Darboh is having surgery Tuesday, although it’s unclear what kind of surgery. He missed the preseason with hip and collarbone injuries.

–Quarterback Davis Webb, released by the New York Giants, was signed to the practice squad of the New York Jets.

Webb will be paid a full salary as if he were on the 53-man roster, NFL Network reported. He made $600,000 with the Giants last season.

Quarterback John Wolford was released from the practice squad to make room for Webb, who was cut by the Giants in favor of rookie Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney.

–The Miami Dolphins listed both Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore as starting running backs on their official depth chart, with Drake’s name listed first.

Head coach Adam Gase has said he hopes to get Drake 15-20 carries and six to eight targets per game, but Gore is expected to work in as well, and perhaps draw the occasional start.

Elsewhere, the Dolphins are signing former New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden and cutting center Travis Swanson in a corresponding move, according to a Miami Herald report. Swanson was signed on Monday after being released by the Jets at final cutdown. Bolden is primarily a special-teams contributor who was among the Patriots’ final cuts.

–The Kansas City Chiefs announced a contract extension for offensive lineman Cameron Erving.

Terms were not announced, but multiple reports said it is a two-year extension worth up to $15.7 million based on playing-time incentives, with $6.45 million guaranteed. Erving, a former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, was entering the final year of his contract after his fifth-year option was declined and was set to make $1.72 million this year.

Erving, 26, has played in 42 games (21 starts) through three seasons, seeing time at all five positions up front. He saw action in 13 games (four starts) in his first year with the Chiefs last season, playing right guard and left tackle.

–The Arizona Cardinals and State Farm have agreed on an 18-year naming rights commitment that results in the team’s home venue becoming State Farm Stadium, the Cardinals announced.

The Cardinals’ home venue has been known as University of Phoenix Stadium since its inaugural season of 2006. The team expects much of its rebranding to be in place by its season opener against the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

University of Phoenix will remain connected to the Cardinals as the team’s official education partner.

—-The Detroit Lions signed running back Donnel Pumphrey to their practice squad. A 2017 fourth-round pick of the Eagles, Pumphrey was released during final cuts.

Pumphrey rushed for an FBS-record 6.405 yards at San Diego State from 2013-16.

–Field Level Media

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September 05, 2018 at 05:50AM
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