Tuesday’s NFL: Luck to start Colts’ preseason opener

Associated Press

Andrew Luck spent two straight offseasons contemplating how it would feel to play football again. He’ll find out Thursday night.

Coach Frank Reich announced Tuesday that Luck would start and could play most of the first quarter in the Indianapolis Colts’ preseason opener at Seattle.

“I’ll be excited and a little nervous,” Luck acknowledged after practice. “There were one or two moments where I wondered if, ‘Am I ever going to be able to do this again?’”

He wasn’t the only one asking that question during a nearly 600-day wait between starts. And he’s not the only one who will be nervous lining up against the Seahawks’ traditionally strong defense.

Much has changed since Luck performed in a televised game.

There’s a new general manager and a new coach in town. There’s been another new offense installed and Luck is still trying to learn everybody’s names.

Rookie Quenton Nelson and free agent signee Matt Slauson have moved in as the new starting guards.

Tight Eric Ebron, a former Detroit Lion, and receiver Ryan Grant are promising new targets for Luck, who will be handing off to second-year running back Marlon Mack for the first time in a game.

Smith on depression

Former NFL wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. says he battled depression during his 16-year professional career with the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens.

Smith, who retired after the 2016 season and now works as an analyst for the NFL Network, told NFL.com that despite making five Pro Bowls and being selected All-Pro twice he “routinely felt trapped, inferior and alone” and often asked himself “what’s wrong with me?”

Smith says he’s being treated for depression and advised others to do the same, saying “stop trying to deal with these serious matters alone.”

Foles misses practices

Nick Foles has missed three straight practices because of muscle spasms near his shoulder and neck and Carson Wentz still isn’t participating in 11-on-11 drills for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Foles’ injury isn’t considered serious, but it’s uncertain whether the Super Bowl MVP will play in the preseason opener Thursday night against Pittsburgh. Wentz is coming back from surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee.

Callaway cited over pot

Antonio Callaway, the fourth-round draft pick and wide receiver from Florida who arrived in Cleveland with a history of issues while in college, was cited early Sunday for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license.

Newton backup battle

For the first time since 2010, the Carolina Panthers have a quarterback battle on their hands heading into the preseason — at least when it comes to who’ll back up 2015 league MVP Cam Newton.

Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke, who have tried one career pass between them, will step up their bids on Thursday when the Panthers open the preseason.

Extra points

Coach Jeff Monken and the Army team watched the New York Giants practice and were saluted by the NFL players after the workout.

... Panthers offensive lineman Amini Silatolu has a torn meniscus in his left knee and will undergo surgery Friday.

... San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is going to play at least one possession in the preseason opener Thursday night, coach Kyle Shanahan said.