- Associated Press - Thursday, October 17, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The resumes of Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning are strikingly similar.

Their fathers both played in the NFL, they both left their home state to attend college, finished as Heisman Trophy runners-up and were chosen No. 1 overall by Colts owner Jim Irsay. Heck, they even wound up as Pro Bowl teammates in February.

So, as the two quarterbacks prepare to meet as opponents for the first time Sunday, they’re trying to avoid all the natural questions and comparisons. Not a chance this week.

“I never viewed it as replacing Peyton. I just viewed it as an opportunity to play quarterback in the NFL,” Luck said when asked about Manning’s legacy in Indianapolis. “It just so happens one of the greats of all time was here before me.”

Some believe the NFL’s next great quarterback happens to be Manning’s successor, though time will tell.

One thing that both quarterbacks made clear Wednesday is that they are friends, not rivals.

The two families have been acquainted since 1982, when Luck’s father, Oliver, was the backup to Manning’s father, Archie, in Houston.

But it wasn’t until eighth grade that the younger Luck got his first real immersion into the relationship _ as an invitee to the annual Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana. It didn’t take Luck long to strike up new friendships and find a few new high-profile fans.

“That was very fun and a great way to meet Peyton and Eli and talk to Archie,” the younger Luck said. “There was that link between our fathers. He (Peyton) has always been very helpful and kind. They’re such a classy family. It’s fun to know them.”

By the time Luck returned to the Manning Passing Academy as a camp counselor a few years later, he was already considered one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and being billed as Stanford’s next Heisman candidate.

Strangely enough, Luck might not even be in Indy had it not been for some advice he collected from Manning about turning pro early.

Over the years, though, the Manning children and the younger Luck have become mutual admirers.

Luck, at 24, is young enough to still consider Manning a role model, and Manning, at 37, is old enough to consider himself a fan of the guy who is now trying to break all those records he set in Indy.

“He’s a heck of a quarterback,” Manning told reporters on a conference call. “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.”

The quick starts by both quarterbacks have only made this week’s showdown in Indy, Manning’s first game in Lucas Oil Stadium as the opponent, that much tougher.

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