King’s Training Camp Tour This Past Week Included Visits with Colts, Texans, Titans, Browns and Falcons
“There is a part of me that thought I would never have fun playing football again.” – Andrew Luck on returning from shoulder surgery
“I don’t expect anybody else to be convinced. I don’t expect anybody outside to have any reason to believe that.” – J.J. Watt on if he’s convinced he’ll be great again
“I’m not changing my mind. Tyrod’s (Taylor) starting. That’s no reflection on (Baker) Mayfield.” – Browns head coach Hue Jackson
“Football Morning in America” Runs Every Monday Exclusively on NBCSports.com
STAMFORD, Conn. – August 6, 2018 – Peter King’s latest edition of “Football Morning in America” – exclusively on NBCSports.com – includes visits with the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons as part of his annual training camp tour. This week’s column features an interview with Colts QB Andrew Luck on returning from his surgically repaired shoulder, Texans DL J.J. Watt on recovering from his second major injury in as many years, and a 13-mile bike ride to Falcons training camp alongside general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
VIDEO: King’s interview with Luck.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of “Football Morning in America”:
- Luck on not taking a snap in 582 days: “There is a part of me that thought I would never have fun playing football again … I worked myself into a fairly dark place. But I think I see light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not torturing myself anymore.”
- Luck on how he feels day to day: “I’ve been able to turn off the governor in my mind. I’m just going out there throwing balls. There is nothing holding me back. There are some things that feel really good, like an old sweatshirt that you put on that just fits well. And there are some things that still feel awkward and new and wobbly, per se.”
- Texans head coach Bill O’Brien on Watt’s production from 2014-15: “Those ’14 and ’15 seasons were arguably two of the best seasons any player at any position has ever had. I remember we’re playing Baltimore in ’14, and they’re driving, and it’s late, and our guys are just exhausted. I remember J.J. looked over at me and basically said, If you give me a timeout here, I’ll get to Flacco. So I call time. We get a breather. That next play, J.J. strip-sacks Flacco. Game over. We win.”
- Watt on if he’s convinced he’ll be great again: “I don’t expect anybody else to be convinced. I don’t expect anybody outside to have any reason to believe that. The last two years were two very bad years. There were some dark moments in there. But I’ve also come out the other side of it better because of some of the experiences that I had.”
- Browns head coach Hue Jackson on Tyrod Taylor starting: “I’m not changing my mind. Tyrod’s starting. That’s no reflection on [rookie first-round pick Baker] Mayfield. He respects what I’m doing for him long-term. He may not like me for it now, but he’ll thank me later.”
- Former Browns QB Tim Couch’s advice to rookie signal callers: “My advice to all these guys: Don’t get frustrated. I’ve seen everything I think that a young quarterback can go through. Getting beat up, been injured, two major shoulder surgeries, broken foot, broken thumb. Only made it through one season healthy. So that was really frustrating. Here, I know Baker’s such an ultra-competitive guy, and he’s got to guard against being frustrated. For him to sit on the sideline, it’ll be like putting a straightjacket on him.”
- Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff on surviving in the NFL: “It does feel dog-eat-dog at times. I think it has a lot to do with making sure you have the right relationships, the right communicative approach, a culture that is correct and, in my mind, steeped in what I said before: positive, passionate, persevering people. It’s not always about the smartest, it’s not always about the most talented (people). I learned a lot from Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli in that realm.”
Read the rest of the column here.
A new “Football Morning in America” will post every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com. It was announced in May that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.