Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has not given up hoping he will see Andrew Luck back in the NFL following the star quarterback's shock retirement.
Luck sent shockwaves through the NFL when he announced his retirement on Saturday, following the Colts' 27-17 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.
The 29-year-old and four-time Pro Bowler cited injuries as a key factor behind his decision to quit American football.
Luck – who suffered a serious shoulder injury in 2017 – was dealing with a lower leg/ankle/bone problem throughout the offseason that limited him to just three practice sessions heading into the campaign.
Asked whether Luck could eventually return, Irsay told reporters: "I don't rule it out because as quickly as this thing descended on us and mysterious as it was, it could leave the same way.
"That's just a fact. It's very hard to measure sometimes our human experience and we all perceive life from our chair. I would say it's possible."
But Irsay is not banking on the slim chance Luck will have a change of heart.
"We know we have to get on and play," Irsay added. "We are focused on having a great season. It's possible but no one knows and he would be the first to say it. Only time will tell."
Luck was a Pro Bowl player in four of his six pro seasons and is fresh off a 2018 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. He led the Colts to a 10-6 record last season and into the second round of the playoffs.
Colts head coach Frank Reich only had positive things to say about what Luck brought to Indianapolis since being selected first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.
"Being in that room with him for the last 18 months was just the experience of a lifetime," Reich said. "You know, a true competitor in every sense of the word, a great team-mate and just one of the truly unique players to ever put on an NFL uniform and certainly, to wear that horseshoe proud. So, for the coaching staff in that locker room, just getting a chance to work with this guy every day was incredible."
Now Indianapolis are focused on moving forward with Jacoby Brissett, who threw for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns with the Colts when Luck sat out for all of 2017 to recover from a shoulder injury.
"There's a saying in football that everyone knows and everybody lives by, it’s next man up and even though this situation is unique, no one is exempt," Reich said.
The Colts will kick off their 2019 season away to the Los Angeles Chargers on September 8, with Brissett under centre.