INDIANAPOLIS — If the sight of Andrew Luck in loud disco clothing cutting it up on the dance floor came as a surprise this spring, Mike Trout is to blame.
The Indianapolis Colts quarterback initially had reservations about appearing in the ad for Body Armor — a sports drink company he invested in and has endorsed since becoming the first overall draft pick in 2012 — until he learned Trout was on board.
In the commercial, Luck has a dance off with the Los Angeles Angels all-star outfielder and takes a break from his stoic public image.
“I think I feel much more comfortable making fun of myself than trying to be cool,” the 29-year-old said Monday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. “So a chance to make fun of myself is alright.”
It's been a very productive offseason for the four-time Pro Bowler, but almost none of it has had to do with football.
As the Colts began their offseason conditioning program, Luck said that was by design. After a 2018 season during which he led Indianapolis to its first playoff victory in four years and won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award, a respite was in order.
Luck found it by spending time with family and friends and marrying his long-time girlfriend, Nicole Pechanec, last month in the Czech Republic.
“We’ve been together for a decade so not much has changed besides a ring on the finger, and she’s got great insurance now. So that’s good,” Luck joked. “But it’s awesome. It was the best day of my life and probably the best offseason I ever had.”
General manager Chris Ballard encouraged Luck to “turn my mind off in a sense” and get away from the game after an intense rehab process followed by his first regular season action since 2017.
It took awhile for Luck to heed the advice, but he's glad he did.
Entering his eighth professional season, Luck feels “refreshed.” For the first time in years, he didn't spend the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery or rehabbing an injury.
There was an emotional hurdle to clear when the season ended with a divisional playoff loss at Kansas City in January. Taking a break from the game re-energized Luck's mind as much as his body.
“I think there are a lot of things that I felt like I needed to prove to myself that I could do,” he said. “We sat here a year ago and had a bit of a different conversation. And at that time, there were a lot of questions that I had about myself. I still hadn’t picked up a football and thrown one at that point.
“So certainly, a little bit of a different place, but what I think I learned and what (head coach) Frank (Reich) has preached is it is all about improving. It’s all about getting better. It’s not the destination. It is the journey.”
The journey includes raised expectations after the Colts won nine of their final 10 games to earn a wild-card playoff spot in 2018.
Having a healthy and reinvigorated Luck around for all of the offseason work will only push the expectations higher.
A year ago, the quarterback had to play catch up to get on the same page with his teammates when training camp began, and that might have contributed to the slow start.
This time around, Indianapolis can build on last year's foundation and quickly begin adding new pieces.
“I know that we are always going to have something new,” center Ryan Kelly said. “We do a lot of self-scouting so I know there are going to be some new routes, new concepts of what we put in and just being able to iron those out now I think just saves us — it kind of accelerates us for those OTA days that are going to come.”
Continuity has been a buzzword this offseason.
Ballard and Reich like the young group that rallied into the playoffs and want to give the players room to grow together. Toward that end, 10 starters will return on offense — with only free-agent addition Devin Funchess replacing Dontrelle Inman at wide receiver.
But Luck isn't taking anything for granted.
Even though the team is entering its second season in Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni's scheme, he's quick to point out he only got about four or five months of good on-field work with his teammates.
So while that experience is valuable, the hunger of starting over — and proving one's self again — remains.
“Certainly the time that you spend together with the coaching staff and with your teammates is an intense time — football season, training camp and the offseason,” Luck said. “But I think we also haven’t been together forever. We need to continue to work to improve every day to figure out how to get the most out of each other, and that’s very exciting for me.”