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With Carson Wentz hurt, Colts again left wondering who their starting quarterback will be

WESTFIELD, Ind. — Here the Indianapolis Colts are again.

Start of training camp. A quarterback they believe is capable of leading them to the playoffs.

And then an injury happens.

Sound familiar?

Two years ago it was Andrew Luck and the calf injury that added to the long list of injuries he dealt with, eventually leading to his retirement.

Now it’s Carson Wentz, the player they thought would end the recent revolving door at quarterback, a position the Colts rarely had to worry about starting in 1998, when they drafted Peyton Manning, and continuing all the way until Luck started getting constantly injured in 2015.

Wentz, according to ESPN, is out indefinitely with a foot injury suffered late in practice Thursday. The injury occurred when he felt a “twinge in his foot” as as he rolled out and planted to throw, offensive coordinator Marcus Brady said.

But this shouldn’t be surprising, either.

Injuries have been a regular part of Wentz’s five-year NFL career. He has played a full season only twice thanks to injuries, with the most substantial being a torn ACL late in the 2017 season.

The injuries — along with Wentz being benched last season in Philadelphia — didn’t stop coach Frank Reich from making his case for the Colts to acquire the quarterback from the Eagles.

“When you’re in the role of head coach, you take a lot of responsibility for it,” Reich told ESPN in March. “But that’s what you have to do. You have to be willing to stick your neck out and have some conviction about things. You don’t have to make every decision a make-or-break decision, but there are certain defining moments or big decisions. This is one of those big decisions, but I think as an organization, we handled it the right way.”

The Colts gave up a third-round pick in this year’s draft and a conditional second-round pick (which could become a first-rounder if Wentz either plays at least 75% of the Colts’ offensive snaps or plays 70% of the snaps and the Colts reach the playoffs) in the 2022 draft to get Wentz.

It wouldn’t be a good look for the Colts, especially Reich, if Wentz’s injury is severe enough that it carries over to the regular season, because they took the risk in acquiring a quarterback who has dealt with injuries in the past.

The Colts’ first five games of the regular season are against teams — the Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Dolphins and Ravens — that went a combined 54-26 last season, with four of them making the playoffs.

No matter the belief in having a complete team, the quarterback is still the most important player on the roster. The Colts’ very talented running game can’t have the type of success the team envisions without a quarterback who can keep a defense honest with a strong arm.

Signing a veteran quarterback at some point shouldn’t be off the table for the Colts with the uncertainty of how long Wentz will be out, because they lack experience at that position. Second-year player Jacob Eason took the first-team snaps in practice Friday. The 2020 fourth-round pick didn’t play a snap last season. Rookies Sam Ehlinger and Jalen Morton are the other quarterbacks currently on the roster.

So a day after Wentz showed off his strength with two hard-thrown passes along the sideline and his athleticism by scrambling right and throwing the ball at least 50 yards in the air across his body in a three-play sequence, the Colts are left wondering what the status of their quarterback will be for Week 1 yet again early in training camp.

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