|Luck and RG3 both said they'd be willing to sit behind Manning next season. (AP)|
By Ryan Wilson
Even if they're not throwing this weekend, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are saying all the right things at the combine. Two months from the NFL Draft, they're considered the two best quarterbacks, and there's the strong possibility that both are off the board with the first two picks.
Most people -- from fans half-paying attention to draft experts -- expect the Colts to take Luck first overall. The former Stanford star has been called the best prospect since John Elway. Given all the upheaval in Indianapolis right now -- from the new front office and coaching staff to the speculation that Peyton Manning could be released in the coming weeks ahead of a $28 million roster bonus -- there's also reason to believe that Luck, like Manning in 1998, would be the starter from Day 1.
Despite the writing on the wall, Colts owner Jim Irsay said recently that he "would love to have" Manning back in Indy. We're guessing those comments were more PR cover than heartfelt, but either way, Luck was asked Friday about the possibility of playing behind Peyton next season.
“If I have the opportunity to learn from a guy like that, of course you’re going to take advantage of it," he said. "Absolutely. … Peyton was my football hero. That’s who I modeled myself after," he continued. "You never replace a guy like that."
Except you do replace a guy like that, perhaps soon. And many Colts fans accepted that reality when the team was on it's way to a 2-14 season without Manning, who had multiple neck surgeries in recent years and his football-playing future is still in question.
There's also this: the organization is free to sign Luck starting Friday.
Griffin, who sported Ninja Turtle socks when he spoke with the media Friday, was also asked about playing behind Manning.
"Yeah I would embrace it," he said according to CBSSports.com's Will Brinson, who is in Indianapolis this week. "It's not very often you get chances to play -- or be on a team -- with a legend like that and learn from a guy like Peyton.
"Definitely I'd come in and compete to try and be the starter, but I wouldn't be upset if Peyton was the starting quarterback of the team I'm on. It would be an honor to sit behind him. I'd hold that clipboard with pride. I'm not going to come in and demand to be the starter."
It's a fantastic answer to questions that are likely irrelevant. We suppose there is some small probability that Manning could return, but all indications are that he's taken his last snap for the Colts.
"Who knows what happens?” Luck asked Friday.
Irsay does, that's who. And we're guessing Luck will be under center when the Colts take the field in Week 1 of the 2012 season.
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