Andrew Luck believes he'll be ready for 2018 season

Emotional Chuck Pagano gives heartfelt speech to the Colts before being fired

Andrew Luck says his throwing shoulder feels stronger and he hopes to participate in the Indianapolis Colts' offseason workouts.

Of all the changes likely to come to Indianapolis next week, the health of the franchise quarterback is the only question that really matters.

"We're preparing to throw a football", Luck said.

And while the almost year-long rehab on his shoulder has taken an obvious toll, the 28-year-old quarterback is looking forward to 2018.

"I don't see that being in jeopardy at all", Luck told reporters. "I feel really good today". I'm on the right path, I think I'm on the right progression, trusting in that. I believe in the process I'm in right now. "I'm (on a) progression to get to that point, and a lot of it still has to do with me and getting my strength back to a better level". "I'm very optimistic. I plan on being ready for everything [in the offseason]".

He played in 15 games during the 2016 season before having a surgery in January 2017 that the Colts believed wouldn't jeopardize his chances of playing in the upcoming season.

Luck expects to be ready for the 2018 OTAs and believes the rehab work he had done in Europe the past two months has him not even thinking about the possibility of missing the start of next season.

His return this week was warmly met by teammates. "If he's happy, I'm happy".

Why did Luck go to the Netherlands?

In November, after seeking additional opinions about treating the injury, he went on season-ending injured reserve.

He bought a turkey from a Dutch butcher for Thanksgiving dinner and watched as much football as he could while rehabbing eight hours a day. "Competing against guys, to miss that is hard", Luck said. "It's like watching one of your siblings play a sport".

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It must be noted, though, Luck flashed a similar confidence during the early phases of his initial rehab after undergoing January surgery to fix a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Has not resumed throwing after having that phase of his rehab shut down by the Colts Oct. 18 when he experienced soreness and inflammation in his shoulder following four controlled throwing sessions with the team. That scared Luck because he made the decision to have the surgery in the first place to alleviate the pain he felt throughout the 2016 season.

Stressed his six-week stay in the Netherlands involved general rehab, strength training and soft-tissue work.

"I know that's a vague answer", Luck said. But he acknowledges he's far from a finished product. I don't want to sound like throwing is the test. "I'm not 100 percent".

"I think there are mental things that anybody who's injured has to go through with any surgery - not just football, any part of life. But the pain has significantly gone down, and that's why I feel so optimistic about the process and the plan that's ahead of me".

Luck was asked if he ever wondered if he'd make it all the way back, ever return to the playing field, if his right arm would allow it.

"He's a beast", Hilton said. "I was getting pulled in different directions".

Another persistent rumor indicated a potential rift between Luck and the organization.

Luck said Irsay's comments were taken out of context and agreed there is a mental aspect to his recovery. "It's better", Luck said. "No, that's not true".

Decided his rehab was best served to proceed under the guidance of a therapist he had worked with in the past and "I trust very much".

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