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Andrew Luck encouraged T.Y. Hilton to return to football

10/15/2021 2:10:24 PM
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Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton started to feel pressure build in his neck on the team's plane ride home after its last preseason game against the Detroit Lions. 

That night, he lost all feeling in the left side of his body. The numbness prevented him from sleeping. Tossing and turning for hours at a time, Hilton began contemplating his future, Akeem Glaspie of the Indianapolis Star reports. 

It would quickly lead to surgery to repair a disc blocking a nerve in his neck and the pain he felt in the following days nearly forced Hilton to hang up his cleats for good. 

“The first two days out of surgery, I didn’t think I’d be back, man, to be honest with you," Hilton said. "It was just painful. It was very painful. I hope nobody has to go through that at all. It sucks, especially not being able to play the game that I love after being in training camp so long with my team grinding and being so happy. God is good."

Searching for an answer on how to deal with the pain while trying to decide if returning to football was what he really wanted to do, Hilton reached out to someone who knows just how taxing the NFL can be — former Colts QB Andrew Luck.

Luck retired from the NFL after seven seasons due to a constant cycle of rehab and recover. The former No. 1 overall pick visited Hilton and they talked about the importance of doing what was best for his career and long-term health. 

"I talked to Andrew, that was probably the wrong thing to do," Hilton said with a smirk. "(Luck) just wanted me to be good with it, get back healthy and don't rush it. ... He was a big supporter. My family just continued to check on me, so I was good once I got over those two to three days I started feeling better."

Now, Hilton said, the pain in his neck is gone, and he's working to regain strength and return to playing shape. 

He returned to practice Wednesday, but his status from Sunday's game against the Houston Texans is unclear.

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