Why shutting down Anthony Richardson is ultimately best for the Colts

While nobody wants to see fourth-overall pick Anthony Richardson sidelined with injury, it's better than having a repeat of history for the Indianapolis Colts.
Tennessee Titans v Indianapolis Colts
Tennessee Titans v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

After only four starts, Anthony Richardson's 2023 campaign is being cut short after Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay released a statement on Wednesday saying that Richardson will need surgery on his throwing shoulder.

While feelings of frustration and defeat float around the Colts organization, the decision comes after nearly two weeks of discourse and medical opinions that led to surgery as the best choice. Irsay and his front office are most concerned with Richardson's future in the league, and don't want him to feel rushed back to recovery at this stage of his career.

"It looked like it was a no-problem tackle, and then you get this?"

Colts owner Jim Irsay

Unfortunately for Indianapolis, it was much more than a no-problem tackle. Stomachs dropped as Richardson walked off the field grabbing his right shoulder, giving Colts fans another chapter in a story that never seems to end.

As Richardson's rookie season comes to an early close, the team and fans know his story is far from over. The 21-year-old was reliable for seven touchdowns through only 12 quarters of game time, showing his promise and potential as the team's franchise quarterback.

Despite the minimal playing time, Richardson is certainly learning about how big each NFL hit is. Every defender is paid to hit the quarterback as hard as they can, and for the rookie, this lesson was learned the hard way.

Anthony Richardson will continue to learn on the sidelines

Having surgery this early in an NFL career is nowhere near career ending. Plenty of star quarterbacks have dealt with early injuries in their careers, and they've all bounced back into elite form. Super Bowl winner Matthew Stafford suffered a similar shoulder issue early in his professional career, and we've all seen what he's been able to do since then.

Indianapolis has seen a franchise quarterback (or two) injured before, and they will use the upmost precaution throughout Richardson's recovery to ensure he is fully healed before returning to the field. The league's youngest starting quarterback will get to watch a year's worth of film during recovery, increasing his processing speed and breakdown ability.

While the team is losing their star quarterback, the reins of the offense have fallen into the hands of Gardner Minshew. A fifth-year player, Minshew will be able to guide Richardson through both film breakdown, game tips, and injury recovery. Minshew has seen plenty of injuries on his throwing arm, and is specifically known for attempting to break his own hand.

Despite taking over the starting role, Minshew knows it is still Richardson's team. The veteran wants to be as good of a teammate and player as possible to support the rookie's recovery and progress within the team. Richardson will hopefully aim to play again by spring training, according to head coach Shane Steichen. The Colts will not confirm any time table for the injury, and will monitor Richardson's progress daily.