- Associated Press - Thursday, April 19, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS — The secret is out.

Andrew Luck will be the Indianapolis Colts‘ new quarterback.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation said Thursday that the Colts have notified Luck that they plan to take the Stanford quarterback with the No. 1 pick in next week’s NFL draft barring some unforeseen event.

It’s hardly a surprise that the Colts are turning to Luck as the cornerstone of their massive rebuilding project. Luck was projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft before returning to school for his fourth season. He gave up his final year of college eligibility to enter this year’s draft, which was dubbed the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes from the start.

Contract negotiations are not expected to begin before the draft, the person familiar with the situation told the AP.

“We’ve exhausted the process,” new Indy general manager Ryan Grigson told reporters Wednesday. “We’ve pretty much made up our minds and we’re going to go from there. We feel good about it and we’ll go from there.”

Grigson acknowledged that the Colts made their decision “a little while” ago, though he declined to say whether the Colts would take Luck or Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor.

The secret lasted less than 24 hours. ESPN.com first reported that the Colts‘ had informed Luck they will take him. That would likely send Griffin to the Redskins, who traded a first- and second-round pick this year and first-rounders each of the next two years to St. Louis to move into the No. 2 slot.

Luck faces a challenging situation in Indy, which went 2-14 last season after Peyton Manning was lost with a season-ending injury that required neck surgery.

Manning was released March 7 and eventually signed with Denver, and Luck will now serve as Manning’s successor.

Ravens sign QB Painter

OWINGS MILLS, MD. | The Baltimore Ravens signed former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Curtis Painter to a one-year contract. Painter worked out for the Ravens on Thursday along with former Baltimore starter Kyle Boller and former Pittsburgh backup Dennis Dixon.

Around the league

BEARS: Chicago agreed on a one-year contract with linebacker Geno Hayes, who spent his first four seasons with Tampa Bay. Hayes started 42 games for the Buccaneers after being a sixth-round selection out of Florida State in 2008.

PACKERS: Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson said the team is waiting for more information on the playing future of safety Nick Collins, who sustained a career-threatening neck injury at Carolina last season. Thompson said Collins, 28, is gathering medical advice on his next steps.

PANTHERS: Carolina is interested in moving down in next week’s draft, not up. General manager Marty Hurney said Thursday that the Panthers who have the ninth overall pick - don’t have the ammunition to trade up after dealing this year’s third-round pick to Chicago for tight end Greg Olsen last July.

BUCCANEERS: Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano shot down an online report Wednesday that indicated the team is interested in trading cornerback Aqib Talib. One reason Talib is almost certain to remain in the short term: his June 25 trial in Texas on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, for which he faces 20 years in prison.

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