Jacoby Brissett’s fortunes changed suddenly on Saturday when Andrew Luck retired, and his reaction to the news was priceless.
News of Luck’s retirement came while the Colts were playing the Chicago Bears in a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night. During the game, cameras caught Luck saying something to Brissett, whose reaction leaves no doubt about what Luck told him. Brissett had a stunned look on his face, narrowing his eyes while pursing his lips before saying one word back to Luck.
Whatever that word was, it’s probably similar to what everyone else on the Colts thought when they heard the news. Luck’s retirement thrusts Brissett suddenly into the role of Colts’ starter just two weeks before the start of the 2019 season.
It’s a situation he’s been in before. The 26-year-old started 14 games for Indianapolis in 2017 while Luck missed the entire year with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Brissett went 4-11 while completing 58.8 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 260 yards and four touchdowns.
Luck returned last year to lead the Colts to a Wild Card berth and a playoff win over the Houston Texans. Expectations were high for this upcoming season, with Luck having another year to recover from his career-threatening shoulder injury and head coach Frank Reich going into his second season. But Brissett isn’t Luck, and whatever hope the Colts had of competing for a Super Bowl this year likely collapsed without their franchise quarterback.
Luck, though, still says he’ll offer his replacement all the help he can. “Jacoby Brissett is an awesome dude,” he said at his retirement press conference. “Diligent, sharp, loves football. I hope I can continue to support him in different ways. So thankful for our friendship.”
The one positive for the Colts is that Luck hadn’t been able to practice during training camp because of a lingering calf injury. That means Brissett has spent camp gaining valuable reps with the first time offense. In two preseason games, Brissett has completed 10/15 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t play against the Bears on Saturday.
When Luck was drafted by the Colts with the first-overall pick in 2012, it marked the beginning of a new era for the team after Peyton Manning. That era came to an end after just seven seasons, and a new one with Brissett at the helm, at least for 2019, is now beginning.