Indianapolis Andrew Luck is willing to learn from Peyton Manning. He just wants everyone to know he’s ready to play next season, too.
The Stanford quarterback said Thursday he could co-exist as Manning’s teammate even though his preference would be to play immediately.
“I think every competitor wants to play, every down, every play,” Luck said when asked about starting as an NFL rookie. “So, of course, who wouldn’t want to start?”
Luck spent less than 24 hours in Indianapolis, going through a battery of physical tests and learning the intricacies of nutrition at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
His next trip to the city, for the annual scouting combine, might determine whether Luck becomes a permanent fixture.
Colts owner Jim Irsay has already said he intends to take Manning’s successor with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft, and it looks like a two-man race between Luck and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.
But there are big questions surrounding the Colts.
Indy has embarked on a major rebuilding project with Ryan Grigson, a first-time general manager, and Chuck Pagano, a first-time coach.
There are even more concerns about Manning, who missed the 2011 season after having his third neck surgery Sept. 8. The four-time league MVP has resumed throwing and has steadily increased his workout regimen. On Thursday, Manning’s doctor released a short statement saying the quarterback had been cleared to play. Manning has said he does not plan to retire after 14 seasons in the NFL.
Irsay said he will wait until next month to decide whether to pay its franchise quarterback a $28 million roster bonus by March 8, redo the contract or risk losing him in free agency.
“We haven’t had any midnight conversations,” Irsay said Thursday with a laugh. “Nothing has changed, and we’re looking forward to talking after the Super Bowl and continuing to work toward a solution.”
If Indy keeps Manning and takes Luck, it would be the first real quarterback controversy since the pre-Manning days.
Manning’s father, Archie, created a buzz late last year when he told a radio show he didn’t think the two could be teammates. He later said what he meant was that Luck and Peyton Manning both were good enough to start in 2012.