The Washington Times - March 26, 2012, 02:39PM

PALM BEACH, Fla. | The mission to get inside the mind of Colts owner Jim Irsay probably should include some warnings to proceed at one’s own risk. But it was a welcome endeavor Monday afternoon because the eccentric Irsay will decide which quarterback, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin, is available to the Redskins with the second pick in the draft next month.

Irsay shared with The Washington Times some thoughts about Luck, Griffin and the choice between the two. If he has made up his mind, he didn’t tip his hand. Among the highlights, he indicated the Colts probably won’t initiate pre-draft contract negotiations with whichever player they intend to choose.


Irsay also likes RG3’s sock game. And after hearing that from Irsay, it occurred to me that RG3’s charismatic, diverse personality probably would mesh quite well with Irsay’s.

Oh, I should mention the Colts are widely expected to draft Luck.

Here’s the full Q&A:

Q: Where are you in the process of choosing Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin?

JI: “You want to have a thorough process. You want to go into it a little bit with amnesia. What I mean is that you don’t want to have preconceptions. You don’t want to go with hype. You really want to go in and evaluate and be as open-minded and work a process as much as you can. So that’s what we’re doing.

“They’re both just great players and great young men. It’s hard to remember having two guys up there so dynamic at the quarterback position. I think from that standpoint you want to work that process before you make a final decision. That’s what we’re doing right now. If we decide to initiate and get a contract done before the draft – I don’t know if that will happen or not; it’s possible – but at this point we’re still taking all the time in the evaluation process.”

Q: Do you consider Luck and Griffin to have dramatic differences?

JI: “I think it’s not as dramatic as some people think it is because they’re both great athletes. They both have incredible feet. Obviously Robert runs a little faster, but Andrew Luck’s 36-inch vertical jump is two inches higher than Cam Newton. So they’re both great athletes.

“I think Robert, as well, he’s very comfortable throwing in the pocket. He’s got great touch. He’s an outstanding thrower. I think one thing that’s critical for both guys is I really believe you run when you have to, but you have to stay healthy in this league. Being a successful franchise, sustained greatness, is about consistency at quarterback. That’s one of the key components, and you can’t have that if people are hurt.

“So I think you have to curtail and have both players realize they got to get on the ground or out of bounds. They oftentimes more run to throw, and that sort of thing. I think it’s a tough league. No quarterback can have a sustained aspect and depending on running and really taking hits in this league. You can’t have that.

“One of the greatest things we had with Peyton [Manning] was his ability to be on the field every year, every play; his dependability; knowing he’s going to be there. And a quarterback really has that responsibility. So I think there certainly are some differences, but both guys are great athletes. It’s not like you have a situation where one is completely immobile. I think they’re both great throwers. It’s exciting.

“I think it’s better to have a tough decision because they’re both so great than it is to have a situation where you’ve got to make the right choice because there’s a likelihood one may not succeed. It’s a tough thing. You can go and find general managers and people in the league back in ’98, and they won’t tell you how much they liked probably Ryan Leaf. But I tell you that they did. A lot of them did. More than you think did. So you never like to see a situation where it’s just one or the other.

“It’s hard for anyone to imagine it’s the case with either guy because off the field, their families, what they did in school. It’s interesting because you’re in a multi-billion-dollar business and you’re asking a 22-year-old to come in and really be the centerpiece, kind of driving your franchise. But these guys are mature beyond their years. Guys like this – it’s the same way with Peyton and these two guys – I often say if they weren’t going to be quarterbacks, they’d probably be astronauts. They’re just special, mature, young men beyond their years.”

Q: Is it fair to say Andrew Luck fits Peyton’s mold more than Robert Griffin, and is that important to you and your fans?

JI: “I think that that’s not necessarily the case. [New Colts offensive coordinator and former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator] Bruce Arians is coming in and going to run an offense probably a little bit similar with [Pittsburgh quarterback] Ben Roethlisberger, and our tight ends are going to need to bang a little more, block a little bit more. We want to be tougher in terms of running the ball more and those sort of things. We want to be more balanced on defense and offense than we were through the years.

“But I don’t’ really thing that’s the case. These guys are so good and have so much talent that they both can run a lot of different type of offenses. I believe for sure. I don’t think it’s necessarily for sure a fit that way.

Q: But is that important from the standpoint of selling a product?

JI: “I don’t think so. Both of them are incredible. Andrew is just a tremendous young guy and such a bright guy and such a leader. Robert is dynamic. He has the Superman socks. That’s really cool style, things you look for. But it doesn’t interfere with who he is, which is a football player and a great one. Boy, it would be hard to find either guy that any city wouldn’t embrace in such a big way.”