Reality hit hard as soon as the Colts walked into their locker room Monday morning.
Andrew Luck’s stall was empty, the name plate gone, the era over.
Head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard started the day with a team meeting to discuss how the Colts would proceed without their newly retired starting quarterback.
Luck’s replacement, Jacoby Brissett, took the podium inside a packed media room, Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton wore a Stanford baseball cap to honor his 2012 draft classmate, and then it was time to get back to work.
“In one respect, this story is unique and shocking,” Reich said. “But it’s happened enough where a team loses a great player, and it galvanizes a team and propels them to a championship.”
“I need to be Jacoby Brissett, just be myself,” the quarterback said when asked about permanently replacing his close friend. “It’s always been prepare like you’re the starter.”
At the Colts’ complex, there are plenty of Brissett believers.
Reich noted Brissett has taken more than 1,200 snaps with the starting unit since April when offseason workouts started as Luck tried to recover from a lower left leg injury before he decided the pain was not worth the effort to continue.
It didn’t take the Colts long to move on from Saturday — or the announcement that shocked the football world.
“It’s the same old,” said All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard. “He’s a great player, we respect everything Andrew does. But now we’re focused on Jacoby Brissett and winning games.”
Briefly: Denver created more than $4 million in salary-cap space by cutting defensive lineman Zach Kerr, outside linebacker Dekoda Watson and returner/receiver Nick Williams. … Wide receiver Jaelen Strong, attempting a comeback after missing last season following knee surgery, was waived by the Browns. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who has been slowed by a hip injury, returned to team drills for the first time in nearly three weeks. … The Chiefs lost backup quarterback Chad Henne to a broken ankle sustained Saturday against the 49ers and signed Matt Moore, 35, a seven-year veteran, to replace him.
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