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Luck eager to get started in Indianapolis
Dressed in a gray suit, a light blue button-down shirt and speaking from behind the same podium Manning routinely answered postgame questions, he savored the moment and honored his predecessor.
“He (Manning) was the epitome of class and winning and everything he did was so gracious,” Luck said. “In college you’re watching film of Peyton and Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady to see why they’re so successful. He’s such a great example for high school kids, middle-school kids. I was one of those kids who looked up to him.”
And now, he’s the one trying to replace Manning.
It won’t be easy.
After next weekend’s three-day rookie mini-camp, the Stanford quarterback will head back to school to finish the two courses he needs to earn his architectural degree. League rules prohibit him from participating in any more practices until classes wrap up June 7.
Between now and then, though, Luck will be doing his NFL homework.
He now has a Colts playbook and is already trying to arrange some individual work with Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne. With the Colts taking his college teammate, tight end Coby Fleener, in the second round, he won’t have to go far to find another receiver to help out.
“We’ll try to be as creative as we can be with planes or helicopters or what have you,” Irsay said. “We’ll do what we can within the rules.”
The introduction here Friday was the culmination of a wild 24-hour work period.
First, he had to contend with New York City’s media circus. Then, after dinner with Fleener in New York and a short night’s sleep, Luck flew to Indy on Irsay’s private plane. The new franchise quarterback arrived about 4 p.m., spent two hours at the team complex, meeting with his new coach, Chuck Pagano, his new general manager, Ryan Grigson, and Irsay before heading to the stadium for more introductions..
While he looked tired, Luck sounded eager to start working on the biggest challenge of his football career — filling the shoes of Manning and living up to the lofty expectations.
“When I was doing the interview process and talked to some of the best people in the business, they almost universally said `He’s the best player I’ve scouted in 25 years’ or `He’s the top prospect I’ve graded in 20 years,’ ” Irsay said. “That greatness has followed him around, and he has really handled that with so much humility.”
Luck couldn’t wipe the smile from his face. Or keep the No. 12 jerseys out of the stands.
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