Andrew Luck’s trip to the injured reserve ended his opportunity to play in 2017. Moving forward, will Luck’s career emulate that of Drew Brees or Daunte Culpepper?
Drew Brees began his career with the San Diego Chargers. He was drafted early in the second-round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Brees played late in the 2001 season and won the starting quarterback job over Doug Flutie to start the 2002 season.
Following his Pro Bowl season in 2004, Brees tore the labrum in his right shoulder attempting to recover a fumble in the final game of 2005. Brees would go on to have offseason surgery, similar to Andrew Luck, to repair his injured throwing shoulder. The Chargers would offer an incentive-laden contract to Brees, however, he chose to sign a six-year contract with the New Orleans Saints.
Brees led the Saints to the NFC South title in his first season with the Saints, throwing for a league-leading 4,418 yards. 2007 would see Brees break Rich Gannon’s record for most completions in a season with 440. The following year, Brees threw for over 5,000 yards and was named the 2008 AP Offensive Player of the Year.
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2009 was a magical season for Brees and the Saints, and one that Colts’ fans would like to forget. Brees led New Orleans to the NFC Championship, where they defeated the Minnesota Vikings in overtime. That set up a showdown with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints would defeat the Colts 31-17, and Drew Brees would be named Super Bowl MVP.
Brees has played in all but two games for New Orleans since 2006. For his career, Brees has almost 70,000 passing yards and 476 touchdowns.
Daunte Culpepper was drafted 11th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in 1999. Culpepper became the full-time starter in 2000 and led the Vikings to the NFC Championship while amassing 3,937 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Culpepper struggled in 2001 and 2002, but returned to form in 2003 with a Pro Bowl season where he threw for 3,479 and 25 touchdowns. In 2004, Culpepper broke Dan Marino’s record for total yards in a season with 5,123. He also threw for 39 touchdowns and a league-leading 4,717 yards.
On October 30, 2005, Culpepper suffered a significant knee injury in what would be his final game with the Minnesota Vikings. Culpepper was placed on injured reserve and was traded to the Miami Dolphins the following season.
Culpepper would never be the same. He spent one season in Miami, followed by a one-year stint in Oakland, and finish the final two years of his career as a member of the Detroit Lions. Culpepper never played more than 11 games over his final four seasons, going 3-17 in his 20 starts from 2005-2009.
While every Colts’ fan would like to assume that Luck can rebound from his latest injury, there are no guarantees in the NFL. Let’s hope Andrew Luck can return to form in 2018 and lead the Indianapolis Colts’ franchise on a similar path to that that Drew Brees did with the Saints.