The Indianapolis Colts have reportedly requested a formal NFL investigation of alleged tampering by the Washington Commanders following a report that the franchise reached out to Andrew Luck.
The Washington Post reported Monday that the Colts filed the request with the NFL, a day after Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted that any team that reaches out to the former Indianapolis quarterback should expect to face tampering violations. Irsay sent the tweet after a Saturday ESPN report that the Washington Commanders "phoned about retired Andrew Luck" during their 2022 offseason pursuit of a quarterback.
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.
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) May 8, 2023
Per the Post report citing a member of Luck's camp, the Commanders did not reach out to Luck, his father or his uncle who works as his agent. A source with knowledge of the Colts' request told the Post that the franchise wants the league to determine if there was improper contact with Luck through intermediaries.
Luck retired unexpectedly in 2019 at 29 years old with three years remaining on his contract. The Colts declined to attempt to recoup signing bonus payments that they could have recovered and instead allowed Luck to keep the full $24.8 million. They did so with an eye on keeping him upon a potential return to the NFL. They still maintain his contract rights in the event that he does.
Nothing indicates that Luck, now 33, is interested in returning to the NFL. But a desperate Commanders team apparently kicked the tires on the idea last offseason. This raises tampering violation concerns that Irsay sounds ready to pursue. Teams aren't allowed to contact players who are under contract with other teams.
Tampering is a charge that can carry significant consequences. The NFL docked the Miami Dolphins a first-round draft pick and a third-round draft pick and suspended owner Stephen Ross after it determined last fall that they tampered with Tom Brady and Sean Payton.
ESPN didn't specify whom the Commanders "phoned" in their reported Luck inquiry. Judging from Irsay's tweet, it wasn't a call to the Colts to request permission to speak with the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
The Colts have made several attempts to move on from the Luck era, with their biggest effort yet in April's draft, where they selected Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson at No. 4. Again, nothing suggests that Luck is coming back or that the Colts are still holding out hope that he does. But Irsay doesn't intend to allow another team to test the waters.