INDIANAPOLIS — Colts owner Jim Irsay fired back Sunday night at an ESPN report that the Washington Commanders contacted former Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck during the 2022 offseason.
Under NFL rules, a player’s contract “tolls” when they retire, meaning that the player’s rights are retained by the team that held his contract at the time of his retirement.
Luck retired with three years left on the six-year, $140 million extension he signed in Indianapolis during the summer of 2016, and the Colts famously declined to pursue any of the signing bonus the quarterback was originally paid.
Because of that, the Colts hold Luck’s rights, and the NFL’s anti-tampering policy makes it clear that “no club, nor any person employed by or otherwise affiliated with a club, is permitted to tamper with a player who is under contract to or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by another club.”
Irsay knows those rules well.
“If any NFL team attempted to contact Andrew Luck (or any associate of him)… to play for their Franchise — it would be a clear Violation of the League’s Tampering Policy,” Irsay wrote on his Twitter account late Saturday night.
Luck remains retired, and the 33-year-old has made it clear that he has no intention of coming back to play.
But according to the ESPN story, the Commanders were turning over every stone last offseason, cold-calling every NFL team that might be willing to part ways with their quarterback, and the story says another call went to Luck.
If the NFL found that Washington was tampering, the penalties could be severe.
The NFL stripped the Miami Dolphins of their first-round pick in 2023, their third-round pick in 2024, fined owner Stephen Ross $1.5 million and suspended him, along with a fine for vice chairman/limited partner Bruce Beal, for three violations of the anti-tampering policy from 2019 to 2022, violations that included contact with legendary quarterback Tom Brady and the agent for Broncos coach Sean Payton, then the coach of the Saints.
And this is the latest in the back-and-forth between the Colts owner and the Commanders over the course of last year. Last October, Irsay was the first NFL owner to say there was merit to the possibility of removing Daniel Snyder as Washington’s owner, and Washington took a shot back at Irsay after the hiring of Jeff Saturday as interim coach less than a month later.
Ultimately, Snyder reportedly agreed to sell the Commanders to a group led by Josh Harris this spring.
This article originally appeared on the Indianapolis Star: Colts Jim Irsay: Any contact with Andrew Luck violated NFL rules