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Brees admires QB Luck's return from shoulder injury

NFL.com | Updated: 2019-01-07 09:00:30

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees predicted in early August that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck would be among two candidates to win the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award.

With the 2018 regular season in the books, Brees' confidence level on Luck taking home the recognition hasn't wavered.

"I feel really good about that statement," Brees told reporters Wednesday, via the Saints' official website. "How do you guys feel about that statement?"

Brees' other choice for the award was former teammate and current Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles, whose season hit a snag as he battled a nagging hamstring injury before returning for the stretch run.

But it would be hard to argue against Brees' prediction on the Colts' signal-caller.

Luck's return from an injury to his throwing shoulder, which cost him the 2017 season, has been remarkable and his presence on the field is directly linked to the Colts' success and postseason berth.

Brees, who suffered a similar injury to his throwing shoulder in December 2005 while a member of the San Diego Chargers, has a full appreciation of what Luck has accomplished.

"Understanding what he's overcome, I do not think anybody understands the significance of a throwing shoulder injury for an NFL quarterback," Brees said. "And not just coming back from that, but then continuing to strengthen it and gain confidence in it. And it is not like you are just sitting back there in seven-on-seven. You are getting hit."

After starting the season at 1-5, Luck led the Colts on a 9-1 march to finish the season at 10-6 and the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, where Indianapolis will play the Houston Texans on Saturday.

Luck finished the season completing 430 of 639 passes for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns with 15 touchdowns, establishing career-high marks in completions, pass attempts and completion percentage (67.3). The Colts also took care of their franchise quarterback by upgrading the players around him, notably the offensive line, and Luck was sacked just 18 times, which represents the lowest amount on Luck's career in a full season.

Luck will have competition for the end-of-season award, most likely from Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who returned from a broken leg in 2017 to notch 16 sacks in 2018.

But if Brees had a vote in the process, it's pretty clear his choice remains Luck.

"I have always admired his toughness and his ability to overcome odds in tough circumstances and tough situations, and play through a lot," Brees said. "I think they have continued to build the pieces around him.

"They're playing really good football right now. They're playing with a ton of confidence. You can see it -- you can feel it when you watch the games. Obviously he's the leader. He's the guy that that everybody kind of rallies around on offense and they're doing some good things. They're fun to watch."

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