A breakout season for Cincinnati quarterback and former TCU standout Andy Dalton ended abruptly with a broken thumb.
He fractured the thumb on his right hand in a Dec. 13 game against Pittsburgh and missed the rest of the season, including the Bengals’ 18-16 AFC wild-card playoff loss to Pittsburgh.
Before the injury, Dalton turned in perhaps his most complete season by passing for 3,250 yards and 25 touchdowns in 13 games. He completed 66.1 percent of his passes.
On Wednesday, Dalton joined LaDainian Tomlinson, Mike Renfro and Lyle Blackwood at the TCU Legends Luncheon benefiting Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County at the Fort Worth Club.
Did your thumb injury hurt more physically or mentally after how the season ended? “It was tough to end the season the way it did, especially how I was playing. I was doing a lot of great things and then the timing of the injury, the playoff game and what happened there, it wasn’t a lot of fun. But I’m feeling a lot better, I’m able to throw now, and I’ll take it slow. There’s no reason to rush anything, but the thumb feels good. I’ll be able to go once OTAs begin and there won’t be any setbacks.”
The new NFL year has started and the Bengals have already lost receiver Marvin Jones to the Detroit Lions. What’s your thoughts? “This year is a bit different because we’ve had most of our guys come back in the last four years. But we lost Marvin [Wednesday] so hopefully we don’t lose too many more guys. We’ve drafted well and we’ve got some great young players and it just shows not only how well the organization has planned, but then also the type of players that we have when so many other teams want to sign them away.
You made national news when you lost your luggage in Dallas, took to twitter for help, and later had someone find it. Did you have to bring any luggage [Wednesday]? “Thankfully, no. That was crazy and it was totally my fault. I had loaded some luggage into the bed of my father-in-law’s truck and didn’t close the gate because I thought they were loading something else. So we all get in the car, get to the airport, the gate is wide-open and it’s gone. I’m optimistic, especially when it’s my fault, so I told my wife let’s just put it out there on social media and see what happens. Luckily, a guy had picked it up and taken it to the police station so we were fortunate to get it back.”
Mike Renfro said LaDainian is pretty close to qualifying as old, and you’re not too far behind that. Your thoughts? “Well, I’ve been in the league six years now and it’s crazy to think that it’s been that long. But yeah, I’m going from being a younger guy in the locker room to being an older one pretty quick, but that’s just how it is as time goes on. Crazy that it’s gone by that fast, but I feel like I’m coming into a great time in my career with a lot of good years in front of me.”