Andrew Luck couldn’t wait to start his new job, and the Indianapolis Colts could not wait to get him back on the field.
After a 5½-week absence from the Colts’ offseason work-outs, the No. 1 overall draft pick showed up in a red No. 12 jersey and started showing everyone what he’d learned while attending his final classes at Stanford. Vegas odds
“I’m just attempting to soak all in, and I’m starting to have a good appreciation of what’s going on here,” Luck announced.
Vice president and general counsel Dan Emerson, who has been negotiating Luck’s agreement, observed the 1st half of a 2 hour afternoon practice. Team owner Jim Irsay watched the 2nd half of the afternoon session from a golfing cart.
What everybody saw was a nearly flawless exercise.
Luck connected on his 1st 12 throws in the morning team drill and just one of 16 passes hit the ground — a ball that hit newbie tight end Dwayne Allen in the chest and ricocheted to the ground.
Coach Chuck Pagano noted that Luck didn’t make a single mental mistake. Griff Whalen and Coby Fleener, who worked out with fellow alumnus Luck at Stanford over the last month, announced Luck seemed as calm and in control as he was in school.
“He’s one of the best learners I’ve ever met and he’s already up to speed,” asserted Fleener, Indy’s 2nd-round draft pick in April.
League rules restrict rookies from attending team minicamps till they finish classes with the exception of one 3-day rookie camp, which finished May 6.
In morning team drills, Luck linked up frequently with veteran receiver Austin Collie and threw his final couple of passes to perennial Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne.
The afternoon session focused essentially on individual work, and Luck overthrew both veterans 3 times, all on deep patterns.
It is clear to Pagano and others round the team complex that Luck is everything they expected.
“The guy’s off the charts for football IQ,” Pagano said. “He came in during the weekend and we had a little session with the rookies in which league rules allow, and he hasn’t missed a beat.”
Luck was dubbed the most NFL-ready QB since Manning before the 2011 draft. But instead of taking the cash and jumping to the NFL, Luck returned for one more season at Stanford and had the Cardinal in the BCS title hunt until a Nov. loss to Oregon.
A month later, he finished 2nd in the Heisman Trophy voting for the second straight year.
The Indianapolis Colts became the leader for Luck’s services when Manning missed the whole season after having neck surgery, and the Colts wound up a league-worst 2-14.
Irsay cut ties with Manning on March 7, releasing the 4-time league MVP instead of pay him a $28 million bonus, clearing the way for Luck’s ballyhooed arrival.
“I think I have to earn the face of the organization stuff,” he revealed. “I have to find out as much as I am able to help these guys win games and get back to the playoffs.”