Jim Irsay says lots of things. Some of them are just goofy. Some of them turn out to be untrue, like his offseason declarations that quarterback Andrew Luck would be ready to play this year after shoulder surgery.
But another round of remarks by the Colts owner could complicate the relationship with his best player.
According to Bob Kravitz of WTHR, the latest issue stems from remarks made by former Colts coach Tony Dungy, who was making an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show. During a cut-in happening while a radio commercial break was playing, he told Patrick that Irsay believes the things holding Luck back are mental rather than physical.
“I don’t know what’s going on there,” Dungy said. “Jim Irsay made a comment about six weeks ago, ‘It’s inside his head now.'”
When Patrick mentioned that Irsay expected Luck back to start the season, Dungy said: “They obviously believed it because they did nothing to prepare for him not being there.”
Irsay made a number of remarks this offseason and preseason that pointed to the idea that Luck would be back early in the season, if not for the start of the season. Instead, he was placed on injured reserve last week after his attempts to practice led to more soreness.
Of course, Irsay has been dropping such hints for a while.
“It’s been said before, all sports is played on a 4-inch field between your ears,” Irsay said on Aug. 13. “It’s really important we continue to help Andrew emotionally, mentally, get his confidence and his endorsement, deep down his rubber stamp [in] his heart of hearts because in the end, that carries the biggest weight.”
During the preseason finale, he made similar statements on the team’s television broadcast.
“You have to be able to deal with this, not only physically but mentally,” Irsay said. “I have no doubt that Andrew, the person that he is, he’s going to come out of this thing not just how he was but a better quarterback. ‘When’ is the question. That timetable is more on the football gods and Andrew’s gut feeling on how he’s feeling.”
Luck has taken a savage beating during his time in Indianapolis, directly resulting from the mismanagement sanctioned by Irsay. And Luck doesn’t have the same kind of track record of erratic behavior as his owner, so having his toughness questioned has to smart a little.
Now Irsay’s going to need to clean this mess up, but when he starts talking, he ususally does the opposite.
UPDATE 3:21 p.m. ET: The prior version of this article included a claim from Kravitz that Dungy said Irsay made the “it’s inside his head now” comment directly to Dungy. Dungy was instead referring to things Irsay had said publicly. Kravitz has changed the language of his article, so we have changed the language of the quote from his article.