The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Pro Sports

October 20, 2013

Colts GameDay: Luck thrives in house that Manning built

INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck has never attempted to replace Peyton Manning.

His image does not adorn Lucas Oil Stadium in the place where Manning's banner once hung. He doesn't run a fast-paced, no-huddle offense with a running soundtrack of audibles at the line of scrimmage. And he doesn't hold the heart of an entire state in his hand.

Yet.

He does, however, wear the same blue horseshoe on his helmet that became synonymous with Manning over 14 seasons. And comparisons are inevitable.

"I understand when people ask the question," Luck said this week in front of his locker at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. "I would ask the same question if I was a fan or part of the media or in different shoes in a sense. I've always felt I'm very fortunate to play quarterback in this league. A chance to get paid to play a kid's game is a wonderful opportunity. It never grinded on me or wore me down."

Luck is aware of the standard set before him. How could he not be?

Seven consecutive seasons with 12 or more victories. Six AFC South championships. Two conference titles. And, of course, an NFL championship in Super Bowl XLI.

Manning quarterbacked teams in Indianapolis that won more games from 2000-09 than any other team in any decade in league history. No Colt ever will wear the No. 18 jersey again, and there even is talk of a statue being erected to celebrate Manning's career sometime in the near future.

So it's not too difficult to understand how Luck has been relegated to sidekick status as Manning prepares to return to Indianapolis for the first time with the Denver Broncos tonight.

But it would be wrong to marginalize the accomplishments the 24-year-old Stanford graduate already has achieved.

He's won 68.2 percent of his 22 career starts (15-7) after stepping under center for a team that finished 2-14 in 2011.

As much as Manning is talked about as Luck's predecessor, he chronologically replaced Dan Orlovsky as the Colts' starting quarterback. And that timeline is enlightening.

Orlovsky, now a backup in Tampa Bay, was the third quarterback used by Indianapolis during the disastrous 2011 campaign. He replaced Curtis Painter, who now backs up Eli Manning with the New York Giants. And Painter, in turn, replaced veteran Kerry Collins — who was concussed in his third start with the Colts and retired following the season.

Think about that for a moment.

Three quarterbacks — including Collins, who started in a Super Bowl for the Giants — playing with the same coaching staff and many of the same teammates who helped Manning win a division title the year before, collapsed under the pressure of playing in the four-time MVP's shadow.

Luck, in his rookie season with a brand-new coaching staff and a heavily remodeled roster, won 11 games a year later and led the Colts back to the playoffs.

Replacing a legend is never easy, but Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano said Luck is uniquely wired to confront the challenge.

"If he sat there and dwelled on all that (Manning's legacy), he wouldn't be able to focus on the task at hand," Pagano said. "And that was be the best quarterback that he could be."

Luck's off to a 4-2 start again this season. He already has victories in his young career against Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick and Seattle's Russell Wilson. But he lost his lone showdown with Manning's closest peer — New England's Tom Brady — and he's well aware of the immediate challenge ahead.

Luck grew up watching and cheering for Manning, and he still sounds like a big fan.

"He is a great role model for guys my age growing up, younger guys, just how to play the position, how to handle yourself on and off the field," Luck said. "I've always had the highest respect of him. My dad (Oliver) backed Archie (Manning) up my dad's rookie year (with the Houston Oilers). We always really enjoyed watching all the Mannings play. I definitely hold him in the highest respect."

Among the least repeated comments from Colts owner Jim Irsay this week was his assertion that Manning told him to draft Luck when the two were discussing Manning's future early last year.

The Broncos quarterback didn't confirm or deny that talk this week, but he made his high opinion of Luck clear. And even he couldn't avoid making a few comparisons.

"He's a heck of a quarterback," Manning said. "He played early as a rookie, which is always a challenge, but something I've always believed made a big impact on me and playing as a rookie. I know Eli said the same thing. He sure did have a great first season and certainly used that first season to his advantage, and he's off to a heck of a start this year."

 

1
Text Only
Pro Sports
  • SPT - HB0725 - Getting healthy - JC - 3 Colts getting healthy as training camp opens Reggie Wayne's arrival Wednesday in an IndyCar driven by two-time Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Ed Carpenter drew national attention. But the most important news coming out of reporting day for the Indianapolis Colts concerned the wide receiver's health.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0725 - Colts arrive - JC - 315a.jpg Colts arrive for training camp

    VIDEO: Reggie Wayne's arrival in a two-seat IndyCar driven by Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Ed Carpenter highlighted Colts players' arrival at Anderson University Wednesday morning.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0723 - Pagano art Colts' 'monster' now preparing to 'hunt'

    There's a different kind of buzz surrounding the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare to report for training camp today at Anderson University. Expectations have been high inside the locker room since Chuck Pagano arrived in January 2012 and promised shortly thereafter to "Build the Monster." Two 11-win seasons and one playoff victory later, the mantra has changed.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0722 - Stuckey art Pacers face uphill battle after signing Stuckey Last week, the Indiana Pacers lost Lance Stephenson. On Monday, they replaced one of the NBA's best young players with shooting guard Rodney Stuckey.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_shellysterling.jpg Lawyer says Clippers sale could miss deadline

    A lawyer for the man offering to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion says Donald Sterling's stalling tactics are threatening to doom the sale by pushing it past a contractual deadline.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0717 - Colts Camp Colts set to host ESPN during training camp ESPN is coming to Anderson University. "The Worldwide Leader in Sports" will set up shop on campus during Indianapolis Colts training camp on July 28. Reporter Bob Holtzman and analyst Jeff Saturday, who started 188 games at center for the Colts from 1999 through 2011, are scheduled to be on hand.

    July 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lebron's Decision Basketball [Duplicate] Pacers face new challenges in Central Division The road to another Eastern Conference final just got a whole lot tougher for the Indiana Pacers.

    July 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0713 - TY 2 Rising star Hilton excited about future T.Y. Hilton surveyed the Lawrence North High School football field covered with more than 200 campers working in small groups with more than 30 area high school coaches Saturday morning and smiled.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • LeBrons Decision Cleveland Basketball [Duplicate] James makes Cavs better, now East more wide open A word of caution to anyone anointing the Cleveland Cavaliers as the NBA favorites. Yes, the Cavaliers are going to be good, no doubt. It's impossible not to be with the game's best player. But even LeBron James knows Cleveland has a lot of work to do.

    July 12, 2014 4 Photos

  • SPT - HB0712 - Brazill art Colts waive suspended WR Brazill The Indianapolis Colts announced Friday they have waived wide receiver LaVon Brazill. The news comes just a little more than one week after the 2012 sixth-round draft pick was suspended for a second time for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo