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Colts QB Anthony Richardson says there's nothing 'wrong' with play style: 'My shoulder did what it did'

Seven months removed from season-ending shoulder surgery, Anthony Richardson is back on the practice field for the Indianapolis Colts' offseason program.

After half a year of rehab and reflection and a full season in coach Shane Steichen's scheme, the quarterback said Wednesday at organized team activities that he feels like he has a better grasp of the offense and life in the NFL.

"I'm more comfortable with the offense now, now that I have a year under my belt -- not a year of playing, but just being in the meetings every day, just studying all the time," Richardson told reporters. "Coming here early in the morning, meeting with Shane, that's something I take pride in because if I know the offense inside and out like Shane does, then I think we're gonna be unstoppable. I've just got to keep perfecting it and just keep trusting myself and trusting the offense."

Indianapolis is returning most of its top talent from last season, including Jonathan Taylor, Josh Downs, Alec Pierce and Michael Pittman, who received an extension over the spring. The Colts added second-round receiver Adonai Mitchell to the mix in the draft, as well.

The continuity, plus the return of Richardson, is already helping the Colts bounce back from last year's disappointing second-place division finish. Steichen said Wednesday that he's noticed "accelerated vision" from the signal-caller. Taylor told reporters that the second-year QB "lights up" the whole team at practice with his energy.

Richardson, having finally ramped up his throwing, says he's all the way back.

"Now I kind of feel like myself again, throwing 60-plus (yards)," Richardson said. "Hopefully I can keep it loose and keep it going like that."

Richardson, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Wednesday, still has to prove that he can stay healthy and play with consistency at the NFL level. In just four games in his rookie year, he suffered a concussion, missing a game, and then hurt his shoulder getting tackled on a scramble, ending up with a Grade 3 AC joint sprain. Richardson finished the shortened season with 577 passing yards, 136 rushing yards and seven total touchdowns.

Asked Wednesday whether he's considered altering his dual-threat game, which inspired Indy to take the dynamic QB at No. 4 overall in the 2023 draft, Richardson shrugged off concerns over his durability.

"I don't think there's any way I could have avoided what happened to me," Richardson said, referring to his season-ending injury. "Just a regular, routine tackle. I tried to brace myself for the fall and just my shoulder did what it did. There's nothing I could do about that.

"Changing my game and my play style? I don't feel like there's anything wrong with my play style. People see me, I'm a big quarterback, so they always think, 'Oh, he wants to run the ball all the time, he wants to be physical and that's what's gonna get him hurt.' But that's not the case. The times I did get hurt… The one time, the one concussion, that was me completely because I slowed down by the end zone -- you're never supposed to do that. Everything else, it just happened because we play a dangerous game, and there's nothing I can do about that.

"But necessarily changing my play? I don't think I'm gonna change it, but being smart, knowing when to get extra yards and knowing when to get down, I feel like I know how to do that. It's just I have to do it and do it at the right time, I guess. I don't know if I'm gonna change my game, but being smarter for the team, of course."

The Colts need Richardson around for them to be successful in an AFC South now run by fellow 2023 top-five pick C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans. How the QB and Indy's offense adapt to their new reality following last year's false start will be a narrative to watch this summer.

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