Blog Entry

Luck would 'absolutely' play behind Manning

Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:43 pm
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'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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Since: Jul 23, 2011
Posted on: February 25, 2012 7:53 am

Luck would 'absolutely' play behind Manning

Every athlete likes to play rather than sit the bench.  Every pro athlete appreciates being well paid.  By virtue of being the No. 1 pick Luck will be nicely compensated whether he takes the first snap of the season or holds the clipboard on the sidelines for 17 games.  He can learn a lot by playing or by spending a year under Manning's tutelage.  Either way he would win.  The difficulty for the Colts is one of salary cap.  One can argue that had Peyton played in 2011 they might have won six more games.  That's a .500 team.  The Colts have more issues than who is taking the snaps.  Had Irsay played his cards correctly he would have come out with a candid assessment of the situation.  Had he said that the Colts have a rare opportunity to draft someone who is projected to be a great young quarterback, perhaps the best coming out since Elway, we cannot afford the contract with Peyton but we will do all that we can to help him find an appropriate opportunity to lead another NFL team there would have been some grumbling and second guessing but in the long run honesty would have prevailed.  The other great unknown with Manning is his health.  He has been a great person and player, arguably the face of the NFL.  He was not able to play for a full season.  He's not getting any younger.  If a team is looking beyond one season, Luck (or Griffin) is the future.  

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: February 25, 2012 7:40 am

Luck would 'absolutely' play behind Manning

this whole manning thing is bizzare.  rsay must be half a squirrell. why in the world,wouldyou keep somebody that might not play for 28 mil. all these salary figures are from another planet anyway. no contxt in reality or notmal people's lives. release manning, let him get his incentive based salary. be done with it. it was stupid to bring all this up during super bowl week-end.

Since: Feb 23, 2009
Posted on: February 25, 2012 7:34 am

Luck would 'absolutely' play behind Manning

 @ teres minor, wow reinventing the wheel huh. you think players havent thought of that.  do you read anything irsay's problem is the cap hit not money in general. irsays was ready to give manning 100 mil last year. but it was manning who said no due to the injury, thats the reason it was a 1 year 26 mill. niether thought there would be a recovery problem, thats the monkey wrench. if the colts pay the bonus and draft whoever thats 50mil
on 2 players, that means wayne and mathis are probably gone. because they cant fit under the cap. manning will have to renegotiate his contract to make the cap hit smaller. being he was paid 26 mil for nothing last year i think he should be fair and consider it 

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:35 am

Luck would 'absolutely' play behind Manning

Both of these guys seem like good kids and gave the answer they had to give. But I also believe they could live with sitting behind a guy like Peyton Manning. There is recent history on guys like Phillip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers who sat two or more years and are still long established as stars with plenty of career ahead of them. And if the Colts somehow did keep Manning (which I doubt at this point), Luck would get to sit and watch Peyton take the lumps as they rebuild that mess of a team from last year.

Since: Dec 20, 2009
Posted on: February 25, 2012 5:24 am

Luck would 'absolutely' play behind Manning

"Peyton was my football hero" lol.  Well there you have it.  Even Luck is speaking about him in the past tense.  He knows Manning is done.

Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: February 25, 2012 1:51 am

Luck would 'absolutely' play behind Manning

 Saying he has no problem playing behind Peyton is one thing, being happy is another issue.  First off if Peyton is ready Andrew has no choice in the matter.  2nd is he should be honored to watch him for a year or 2 and learn the game.  3rg is just be patient because you will get your chance.  If he can let everyone know that the team comes first, they will love him from day one.  My only fear is what if Peyton struggles???

Since: Apr 28, 2008
Posted on: February 25, 2012 1:49 am

Luck would 'absolutely' play behind Manning

"We're guessing ..." Really? Thanks for the news.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:24 pm

Irsay lies...

Irsay would "love to have" Manning back: after screwing him out of $28 million.  There is no way any self-respecting athlete or businessman can go back to someone who screwed him out of that kind of money unless they outbid everyone else by a wide margin. 

The bottom line here: if Irsay would "love to have" Manning back, all he has to do is pay him the $28 million he has coming.  The Irsay family can afford it; they make tons of money from the NFL's TV contract, and they do just fine with tickets and suites.  

As for Luck and RGIII, I hope they and their agents take a good, hard look at what is happening in Indy right now, and don't ever sign a contract with a late balloon payment.  If I was a player, I would never sign a free agent contract for anything that wasn't 100 percent guaranteed.  Agents are so great at manipulating salaries, that one has to wonder why they haven't manipulated this one.  I guess they would rather get their money up front in commissions from "signing bonuses."

Since: Dec 20, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:50 pm

Give it a break, you guys . .

Damn. what do you expect these guys to say . . are all you writers complete idiots as those we have here in Europe??
   Any new QB in the league would play behind Manning . . my blood boils when I read this US BS.  You've learned too much form the pseudo-sportswriters on this side of the pond.
   Is there no more integrity . . ?

Since: Jan 8, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:43 pm
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