As Robert Griffin III limped through a playoff loss at the end of his rookie year, social media lit up with people asking why Washington was leaving him in the game. As it turned out, Griffin came off the field only when he had to be helped off because he suffered a severe knee injury, and the second player selected in the 2012 NFL draft was never the same again.
The team that selected the first quarterback in the 2012 NFL draft should have learned from that.
Instead, when Andrew Luck hurt his throwing shoulder in 2015, the Colts allowed him to play through the injury. Luck acknowledged on Monday that he shouldn’t have played through injury, and although he blamed himself, the Colts as an organization have to accept some of the blame, too.
When you have a franchise quarterback like Luck, a player who you’re expecting to lead your team for another decade or more, a player you’re going to invest in with the biggest contract in NFL history, you keep him safe. The Colts didn’t, and Luck says he never fully healed from that 2015 injury and it ultimately led to him missing the entire 2017 season.
This isn’t just hindsight; I tweeted while watching him play in 2015 that he shouldn’t have been out there — and that if he was healthy enough to play, his noticeable decline as a passer was inexplicable.
As it turns out, the explanation is that Luck was playing through an injury that should have sidelined him. The Colts lost their franchise quarterback for a year in 2017 because they didn’t give him the rest he needed in 2015. Now they can only hope he eventually returns to form.