The majority of the focus throughout the 2021 preseason for the Indianapolis Colts has been on one man and one man only: Carson Wentz.
It all started on July 29, when Wentz had to leave practice early because of some pain and discomfort in his left foot.
This led to surgery that shelved the franchise quarterback for three weeks, forcing him to miss the entire preseason.
But after those three weeks, there was some light. Wentz returned to practice and participated in all individual drills while taking every 7-on-7 rep in the process. The foot was responding very well, setting up the quarterback for full 11-on-11 work this week.
Then another setback hit the 6’5”, 237-pound kid with a rocket arm. Wentz, along with teammates Ryan Kelly and Zach Pascal, were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as close contacts to a staffer who tested positive for the virus. Wentz is unvaccinated and thus was forced to be away from the team for five days.
“I was frustrated just like the other guys,” Wentz revealed Thursday during his media session. “Nobody wants to be out, especially when you’re coming in here everyday testing negative and so you want to be out there and I’m at home watching meetings from my office and all those things. It was frustrating but I used the time to still get better with my foot, still be locked in watching some extra film and I was really excited to get back out there finally today.”
There has been a lot of talk this past week about Wentz’s vaccination status. If this happens during the regular season, Wentz could be at risk for missing games that could decide the fate of this football team.
“Trust me, it would be unfortunate.” Wentz said. “It’s unfortunate that that’s kind of where we’re at but I get it. There’s rules and protocols and like I said earlier, whether we agree or not, I’m fortunate enough to do this and I’m employed by the NFL. So, at the end of the day we have to honor what they say. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen and let’s use this hopefully as a lesson learned to avoid everything we can and try and be out there and be available every weekend.”
Wentz reiterated that his reason for not getting vaccinated is a “personal decision” and that the situation is still fluid. He is not ruling out getting the vaccine down the road, but he wants to make sure he is following the protocols and doing the best he can to stay protected.
“Definitely, you do want to go above and beyond (the protocols) and make sure you’re smart with what you do not only in this building but outside this building and just understanding both to be available but also from our health standpoint. Everyone has a different approach and opinion on their health with this matter.”
Health has been the topic surrounding Wentz since the end of July. Getting work in full team activities today was a huge step in him being ready for Week One.
“It felt great to finally get out there in full pads,” the quarterback admitted with a smile. “Obviously, I was hoping a little earlier this week but things happen. Felt good to get out there finally with the guys, really, mostly a full squad upfront and everything. Some mistakes, some things to clean up and all that but I thought it was fun to get out there finally and start getting dialed in for Seattle.”
Playing against the Seattle Seahawks is priority one for Wentz. The Seahawks, led by quarterback Russell Wilson, are a perennial playoff team and will be looking to start the season out strong. The Colts have a much better chance of winning with Wentz out there, as the team looks for its first season-opening win since 2014.
“I’m optimistic but again, we’ll see,” Wentz said. “It’s going to come down to how the doctors feel where I’m at and everything but just being out there full pads today, taking a handful of reps I think was definitely a step in the right direction.”
Next week will determine whether Wentz will be the starter on September 12. If he can be a full participant next Wednesday at practice and his foot responds well, he’ll lead the offense against the Seahawks.
However, even if he is the starter for the Colts Week One, the health of Carson Wentz will be a topic of conversation throughout the entire 2021 season.
Have thoughts on the return to practice of one Carson Wentz? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel!
Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMooreSI.