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Jim Irsay stresses healthy return for Colts QB Carson Wentz: 'I told him I want you at 100%'

Regardless of whether Carson Wentz is able to come back from a foot injury to start the regular season, the Indianapolis Colts will have their fifth different Week 1 starter in as many years.

Therefore, Colts owner Jim Irsay is invested of the long-term health of Wentz and in the meanwhile is supremely confident in head coach Frank Reich's handling of the QB corps.

"I told [Wentz], I want you at 100%," Irsay said Thursday, via The Athletic's Stephen Holder. "We want to see him healthy in two months, in two years, four years.

"You just want to see him ready when he comes back. If it's Seattle, so be it."

The Seahawks are facing the host Colts in Week 1. Wentz underwent foot surgery on Aug. 2 and was given the wide-open return window of five-to-12 weeks.

Having acquired Wentz in the offseason via trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, Irsay is making it known it's not just about the first few weeks of this season or even this season as a whole. And though Reich has expressed optimism regarding the returns of Wentz and offensive lineman Quenton Nelson, who Irsay also expressed he wanted to return only when he was ready, it's still early.

Likely adding to Irsay's cautious approach is his confidence in Reich, who recently signed an extension along with general manager Chris Ballard.

"I have a comfort level," Irsay said of the current quarterback situation sans Wentz. "That's why Frank is there. No one knows better than him."

In the immediate future, all eyes will be on Jacob Eason and rookie Sam Ehlinger in Indy's preseason opener Sunday against the visiting Panthers.

If Wentz is out for Week 1 against the Seahawks, it could very well be Ehlinger or Eason who takes the starting reins. It would follow the oft-forgotten Scott Tolzien in 2017, Andrew Luck in 2018, Jacoby Brissett in 2019 and Philip Rivers last season.

Irsay is confident in where the Colts are at QB and wants to be patient with Wentz, but he still left the door ajar for a veteran signing.

"I think right now there's probably a good chance we go [with Eason or Ehlinger]," Irsay said. "But we always keep our options open."

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