For Colts, Peyton Manning could give way to Andrew Luck

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If the Colts are as bad without Peyton Manning as they looked on Sunday, there’s a good chance they’ll have the first pick in next year’s NFL draft. Which means they’d have the opportunity to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, regarded by many as the best pro prospect to enter the NFL since, well, Peyton Manning.

It sounds crazy to suggest that the Colts could take a quarterback with the first pick in the draft nine months after giving Manning the biggest contract in NFL history. But it also sounds crazy to suggest that a team with a 36-year-old quarterback coming off a major injury would pass on a quarterback as talented as Luck.

We’re getting way ahead of ourselves even talking about it, of course. We don’t know whether the Colts will actually have the first pick in the draft, and we don’t know what Manning’s health status will be at the time that next year’s draft rolls around. But if Manning’s neck injury keeps him out for this entire season or — cover your eyes, Colts fans — his condition worsens, then the Colts drafting Luck something worth considering.

One person apparently considering it is Colts president Bill Polian, who was scouting Luck at Stanford’s game against Duke on Saturday. Polian scouts lots of players, and the Colts don’t actually end up drafting most of them, but there are a lot of college football games he could have gone to on Saturday, and the fact that he chose Stanford-Duke suggests that he’s intrigued by Luck and wanted to get a look at him in person.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw said Sunday on FOX that Manning’s situation reminds him of his own situation late in his career with the Steelers. After Bradshaw had offseason elbow surgery in 1983, he told the Steelers that he’d be ready to go even though, he now says, “I knew I could not play.” Bradshaw’s elbow injury was so severe that he was able to play in just one more NFL game before it forced him to retire, but the Steelers believed Bradshaw when he said he was healthy and decided to pass on Dan Marino in the 1983 NFL draft.

Based on his own experience, Bradshaw urged Manning to be “brutally honest” with the Colts about whether he can keep playing. But the truth is, Manning is too much of a competitor to be brutally honest: He’s going to say he can play until he can’t walk anymore. That’s just the way he is.

And so the Colts are going to have to be brutally honest with themselves, and decide what’s best for the franchise going forward. They’ve already sunk a lot of money into Manning’s new contract, but that’s in the past. If they’re not certain Manning can be healthy enough to lead them for years to come, they’d be foolish to pass up Luck.

97 responses to “For Colts, Peyton Manning could give way to Andrew Luck

  1. Yeah right… unless the neck injury ends his career, Peyton isn’t done by any means and he’s not going to play anywhere else in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. He’s a Colt for life, and if he can still play, Andrew Luck is somewhere else next year.

    (Besides, why each year do we worry about who’s going to get the next top QB draft pick? There’s always another one standing in line for the following year’s draft)

  2. I think the Colts front office, as much credit as they’ve gotten for their success, needs to take the blame for this mess. They had a long long time to draft and groom a successor for Peyton and they haven’t. Now they are hoping to luck onto Luck.

  3. Irsay should be out scouting GMs…Polian’s a joke. Had the Colts been built correctly and complete. Manning and the Colts would have at least 3 rings.

    Pats beat them because they’re weren’t a complete team..couldn’t be when most of the money was invested in All pro WRs, QB, and RB. You’ll win a lot of regular season games that way…but you’re not winning nothin in January.

  4. # of time I’ve texted to various friends over the past month that the colts would have the #1 pick in the 2012 draft if Peyton didn’t play = 5,678,932.

  5. Figures, they’d lose Manning and luck into (no pun intended) getting another solid QB for the next 15 years. If I was a Colts fan, I’d actually be rooting for this, simply because of how hard it is to find truly great QBs.

    Just ask the Dolphins how things have been since Marino retired… or ask the Steelers how they felt from 1984 to 2004, after Bradshaw screwed them out of getting Marino. Full circle article here, eh?

  6. Does this remind anyone else of the San Antonio spurs and the passing of the torch from David Robinson to Tim Duncan??

  7. Wow! After one game, you’re already giving then the first pick on next year’s draft? I say you’re jumping the gun a little. Now if they go 0-6 then ok. Remember, new qb, no real offseason. They just have you warm up.

  8. I don’t watch college football, and I’m already sick of this Luck guy just because of mentions he gets by the posters on PFT. I hope he pulls a David Carr when he gets to the NFL and sucks bigtime.

  9. I don’t see it. Seattle is tanking to get Luck. It’s the only explanation for them choosing Tavaris Jackson as their starting QB.

  10. Wait…Wait!! Luck is supposed the 49ers’ savior-Luck is supposed to be their reward for the last decade of irrelevance!

  11. How old was Favre when the packers drafted Rogers? You don’t pass up franchise QB’s if you have even 1 question at the position. Manning won’t play (or be elite) after about 38/39 years of age. At that point, Luck could sit behind Manning for as long as Manning can stay healthy. Then, let Luck tear up the league. I’d be rooting for this if I was a Colts fan too.

  12. “Based on his own experience, Bradshaw urged Manning to be ‘brutally honest’ with the Colts about whether he can keep playing.”

    Pft. PFT! (I’m saying “Pfffft.”)

    You think the Colts would be “brutally honest” with Manning if they were thinking of drafting Luck?

    It’s every man for himself, especially when there are no guaranteed contracts.

  13. Talk about putting the cart waaaaay ahead of the “horse.”

    Nah. The Colts will win just enough games to lose the Luck sweepstakes and the demise of the Colts franchise will be officially underway. The Polian strategy of riding a one-trick “pony” will finally be exposed as a fraud.

    Wow, I feel like Wes Welker talking about these guys.

  14. Unless Manning is done for his career, there is no way the Colts draft Luck with the #1 (if they have it).

    Again, assuming Manning plays again, Colts would have to pay Luck #1 pick salary AND Manning all his money…. not going to happen.

    Luck is not going to want the warm the bench for another 3-5 years, even if its being tutored by Manning.

    I just don’t see it happening.

  15. It took Peyton a few years to start looking like a goofy hayseed, Luck will come into the league with the goofy hayseed look already fully developed.

  16. This could be the 1 positive if Manning misses the season.

    There is still talent on this team it’s just a matter of if they can overcome their obvious deflation and adjust to life without Manning (hopefully temporarily). They played visually demoralized given the obvious circumstances.

    Other QBs to keep an eye on are Landry Jones (Oklahoma) and possibly Matt Barkley (USC).

  17. …and if the Steelers are as bad as they looked Sunday they’ll be battling the Colts for the first pick overall. Talk about premature, its WEEK ONE people!

  18. Steelers have been perennial championship contenders before ’84…with Kordell Stewart, Maddox, etc. At QB..they have good football people in the front office..they don’t depend on elite QBs to win consistently.

    Luck isn’t a sure thing. He’s in a good football environment at Stanford, some of the best offensive minds in all of football..You don’t see Harbaugh tanking for Luck. He’s going to be a solid QB, but in a bad franchise with a defensive minded coach like Caldwell??? It’s far from a sure thing that he’s going to be elite.

  19. “With the first pick in the 2012 NFL First Year Player Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford University..”

    -Roger Goodell

  20. This Manning situation is Brett Favre in Green Bay part ii.

    It’s going to take the Colts to tell Manning he is done.

    I don’t believe Polian has the guts of Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy.

    That big contract was to soothe Polian’s conscience for what he knows is his job.

    And he also knows it won’t be easy.

    But a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

  21. The 3 things I keep telling my Colts fan friends…
    1. The Colts will be bad this year, but not bad enough. Probably Vikes, Seahawks, & Chiefs will be worse.
    2. Even if they do end up with #1 they won’t be able to afford Manning’s ridiculous contract. They’ll either trade the #1 for a kings ransom or pick a different position and look for a QB in the later rounds.
    3. #1 picks, no matter how great in college and were they are “projected” is no guarantee for future success. For evey Manning there are 4 Tim Couch, Akili Smith, David Carr, & Jamarcus Russels…

  22. It’s a bit early to say the Colts are the worst team in the league, don’t you think? I mean are they really worse than the Panthers, Bengals and Broncos, for example? For sure? I don’t think they are. I think they will struggle this year but there are still some pretty good pieces on this team in guys like Wayne, Clark and others. Yes, they’ll struggle without Manning but are they 2-14 bad? I don’t think they are in a week division.

  23. All this babbling about Andrew Luck… does no one learn anything from past mistakes? How many “best pro prospects since Peyton Manning” have we seen at this time of year since Manning was drafted? September’s can’t-miss pro prospect is almost always April’s Ryan Mallet.

  24. it isnt too early to say these guys might have the #1 pick. They have been struggling the last 3 years(to their high standards). Colts fans, you must see this. The defense just keeps getting worse, they have no running game, so they cant play a slowed down game, and they’re coach has that “deer in headlights” look that Wade Phillips is famous for. If you have a shot at Luck, you have to take him. He is the best prospect since Elway, and Manning is 36. 36 is old for ANY pro athlete. Sorry to say it, but the magic number for pro athletes is 37. Look it up. The Colts might have to go into full-on rebuilding. They had a GREAT run.

  25. “We’re getting way ahead of ourselves even talking about it”

    If you realize that, then why are you talking about it?

    It’s week 1…. this is just a dumb article and i feel bad for anybody who spent more than 5 seconds skimming it.

  26. raiderlyfe510 says: Sep 12, 2011 11:36 AM

    He’s going to be a solid QB, but in a bad franchise with a defensive minded coach like Caldwell???
    ____________________________________
    Defensive minded???? Caldwell was handpicked by Dungy as his successor but he was the Colts Qb coach.

  27. I have always wondered what direction the colts would go after manning retires. I think it makes since. Can you imagine if manning played behind marino for 2- or 3 years before starting. He’d be the most dominate QB to ever see a football field. It be like a nfl team playing a little league team! Tank the season colts. we aint winning no superbowl this year! might as well get luck out of a bad season.

  28. The Colts are just returning to their Indianapolis roots. Before Manning, they were losers. That’s how they got Manning. They and their owner have strutted around like they’re royalty in the NFL. They’re bottom feeders and always have been.

  29. Andrew Luck and his agent would never agree to terms with a team that will consider him a quote ‘insurance policy’!!! Andrew would rather go to a team that will make him the featured qb. Payton has a huge following, you can just cut ties with a caliber qb like pm just to go younger. The fans deserve to see him retire on his own will. Irsay is in a tight spot, my advice is to find low round gems as insurance policies.

  30. You know Bill Polian has a son that coaches at Stanford, right? Check out Brian Polian. He’s the special teams coach. Couldn’t be that he was visiting his son, right?

  31. “Peyton isn’t done by any means and he’s not going to play anywhere else in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. He’s a Colt for life…”

    You just keep thinking that about your franchise QB.

    Signed,

    Packer Fans
    49er Fans
    Baltimore Colts fans

  32. Manning is done whether through the injury or old age…

    Go ahead and hit the thumbs down but remember that I told you…

    He has nothing to play for – already got the ring and the cash so why risk further injury…

  33. Vikes are in the tougher division, vs Seattle and Indy. And with Denver and Carolina in the picture, Indy might not draft earlier than 4th or 5th. (yeah yeah throw the Bengals in there too) Too many crappy teams in their way.

  34. raiderlyfe510 says:

    Steelers have been perennial championship contenders before ’84…with Kordell Stewart, Maddox, etc. At QB..they have good football people in the front office..they don’t depend on elite QBs to win consistently.
    ————————————————-
    The Steelers went 26 years between Super Bowl victories. Yeah, yeah … we hear about Dilfer and Brad Johnson. But anyone who thinks a team can consistently compete for a championship without a franchise QB–no matter how good the defense–is a fool.

    As a Steelers fan, I love Bradshaw. But for a lot of reasons–including the ones he’s mentioned here–I don’t like him that much.

  35. Well for the Colts sake they better NOT get that high of a pick because getting Luck and a healthy Peyton could do more harm than good and cause the fanbase to call for Manning’s head if he struggles early. personally, i hope they do NOT pick a QB high and use a 2nd round pick on a QB (like Nick Foles) and develop him, Luck really doesnt need to be developed, he can come in and start on day one. i think the Chiefs are a team who could use Luck (IF they get the top pick) then they can trade or release Cassel (and if they did i hope Washington gets him), but honestly, i want to see Luck on a team where he can start right away. that’s not the Colts. As long as Manning is there, Luck wont and shouldnt start.

  36. all these people thinking Andrew Luck is another Jafaataasss Russell or Ryan Leaf or Tim Couch…. seriously people…. I know you haven’t watched 1 stanford game when you say things like that….
    the kid is real.

  37. @packerjer
    I agree. The Seahawls are blatantly tanking their season to get Luck next year. T Jackson as your starting QB speak volumes. He’s a 3rd stringer at best.

    But if Luck is the second coming up Payton, I’d tank the season too.

  38. phinfan says:
    Andrew Luck and his agent would never agree to terms with a team that will consider him a quote ‘insurance policy’!!! Andrew would rather go to a team that will make him the featured qb. Payton has a huge following, you can just cut ties with a caliber qb like pm just to go younger. The fans deserve to see him retire on his own will. Irsay is in a tight spot, my advice is to find low round gems as insurance policies.
    ———————————————————
    Dumbest post of the month.

    First, Luck will sign with WHICHEVER team drafts him. He has zero leverage.

    By the way, have to agree with those posters who are fed up with Luck being touted as “The Next Great Quarterback”. We see those almost every season now, and there are far more David Carr’s than Peyton Mannings.

    Where the hell is the next Tom Brady, a surprise HOF’er coming out of the sixth round???

    Second, regarding Peyton Manning’s huge following and the Colt’s “cutting ties” with him, just ask Joe Montana how that worked for HIM in SF.

  39. This possible scenario could make the Favre/Rodgers thing in Green Bay seem pretty mild by comparison, particularly if Manning is provided a clean bill of health and particularly if Luck goes through his entire senior year and draft process unscathed.

    If Luck is potentially as good as advertised, how do you not draft him? And if you draft Luck, how do you make the eventual transition work?

  40. I would love to see the message boards in ATL, PITT, and KC. Please state your allegiance when burying the Colts because I think that true fans might be able to see something past week one. We should be more concerned with the “D” than the offense. Collins will get it when Cleveland brings there below avg team to Indy next week. They just lost to a rookie and Bruce Gradkowski. Give Collins a little break. He did have the three fumbles but “Big Ben” had 5 turnovers by himself and all the focus stays on Collins. Give me a freaking break.

  41. For all the goons saying the Colts will have to pay #1 salary to Luck… Look at the new rookie slotting system… Cam (this year’s #1) has a total contract for around 20 million. The Colts are already paying manning 18 million this year, they can and will be able to afford to pay the #1 overall pick around 4 million if they’re unfortunate enough to finish the season with the worst record in the league. It’s early though.. I agree that Caldwell is a horrible coach, but everyone must remember Collins has been in the system less than a month. Let him learn some more of the plays. If the Colts start the season 1-10 or so, then yes, by all means focus on who to pick with the first overall pick, but don’t give up yet.

  42. ““Peyton isn’t done by any means and he’s not going to play anywhere else in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. He’s a Colt for life…”

    You just keep thinking that about your franchise QB.

    Signed,

    Packer Fans
    49er Fans
    Baltimore Colts fans”
    —————————————-

    You realize my screen name indicates I’m a Bengal fan right? He’s not “MY” franchise QB. And I said “if the injury isn’t career threatening”.

    If Manning comes back, he’s playing for the Colts. Simple as that. And if there’s any shred he’s coming back, the Colts aren’t drafting Luck or any other QB. Further, at this point it’s NOT been stated to be a career threatening injury, and as someone else summarized, this is just a dumb article ultimately until the career jeopardy side of it all gets legitimate legs underneath it.

  43. Just shows what tools Colt fans are…….1 game and they are already saying they are going to be the worst team in football and get Luck…..never happen…..first of all, they couldn’t afford him with or without Manning……even if they could….why bust the bank on one person who cannot deliver in the clutch at the expense of other positions on the field?…….They already tried that once!

  44. For his own sake, part of me hopes Manning retires simply because I don’t want to see him carted off the field in the next 2-4 years. The Colts are in the running for worst team, but Seattle and Cleveland may have something to say about that. And poor Reggie Wayne–it’s a contract year and he has Collins throwing to him (for now, there’s no way Collins lasts the season).

  45. The Colts haven’t had much success drafting diva QBs from Stanfurd (Elway). There’s something about Stanfurd that brings out a sense of entitlement. What’s YOUR deal!

  46. Yup, after one regular season game the entire NFL season has already been completely dissected. The National Hysteria League is back!
    =============================
    Fair enough, but what silver lining did you see in the 34-7 loss against a team playing without its ProBowl running back?

  47. If the sole reason for the Colts making the playoffs every year is Manning and the rest of the Indy team is comprised of substandard scrubs and stop-gap players, why would anyone think that Luck would be able to come in and succeed at a pro level if he is drafted by them?

  48. Manning is doing this because he secretly always wanted to play for Tennessee Titans. He wanted to go there when he found out they were getting rid of VY but couldn’t get the Colts to let him go…

    He may even resort to retiring, then coming back, then retiring, then coming back. But, whatever it takes he’s Tennessee bound!

  49. Yo! AlanSaysYo? “September’s can’t-miss pro prospect is almost always April’s Ryan Mallet.”

    I’m thinking the Colts WISH they could have Ryan Mallett on their payroll right about now.

  50. erosenthalthebastard says:
    all these people thinking Andrew Luck is another Jafaataasss Russell or Ryan Leaf or Tim Couch…. seriously people…. I know you haven’t watched 1 stanford game when you say things like that….
    the kid is real.

    I recall similar things being said about Tim Tebow. How’s that working out for Denver?

  51. Fair enough, but what silver lining did you see in the 34-7 loss against a team playing without its ProBowl running back?
    =================================+
    Silver lining::The Ravens demolishing the Steekers 35-7!!!

    Colt’s will not have the worse record. Houston beat them last year with Peyton.

  52. “…but the Steelers believed Bradshaw when he said he was healthy and decided to pass on Dan Marino in the 1983 NFL draft.”

    That Bradshaw dude that continually ripped on Rodgers throughout the 08′ season, then had to hand him the Lombardi Trophy on stage for winning the Superbowl XLV mvp award against the Steelers?

  53. If the Colts end up with the first pick and don’t select Luck, then they’re absolute fools. Forget about Manning’s health this year. Peyton is going to be 36 this coming year. How many more elite years does he have left in him? I think Favre’s performance a couple of years ago may have given people the impression that it’s a common thing for QBs to be able to do things like that at such an age. It’s not. If the Colts have the opportunity, then they need to draft Luck and hopefully (if he’s healthy) learn behind Peyton Manning for 2 or 3 seasons.

  54. Ladies and gentlemen, you have just read one of the 987,642,881 posts that we will read between now and next April’s draft about “Andrew Luck to Indianapolis”.

  55. I think this is the opposite of the one-player-away syndrome. The Colts should pull a Dallas and trade Manning as soon as they can verify he is healthy, because his trade value will never be any higher.

    Unfortunately, Manning may need more than just this season to prove he can still play to his standards and allow the Colts to realize that value.

  56. theres 14 teams that are 0-1 right now, add another 2 tonite

    the colts looked terrible yesterday but they will still win 4-6 games this season.

    there will be a 2-3 win team at the bottom picking luck long before the colts are even on the clock. good chance its the other manning that gets replaced

  57. You realize my screen name indicates I’m a Bengal fan right? He’s not “MY” franchise QB. And I said “if the injury isn’t career threatening”.

    If Manning comes back, he’s playing for the Colts. Simple as that. And if there’s any shred he’s coming back, the Colts aren’t drafting Luck or any other QB. Further, at this point it’s NOT been stated to be a career threatening injury, and as someone else summarized, this is just a dumb article ultimately until the career jeopardy side of it all gets legitimate legs underneath it.
    ________________________
    So, you’re telling me that if you have a 36 year old Peyton Manning coming off of his 3rd neck surgery that you’re going to pass up on the college QB who is being talked about (and showing it on the field) as the next Peyton Manning? Even if Peyton makes a full recovery (and I hope he does), he only has so many more elite years left in him and he’s now at an age where injuries linger more. You draft Luck, and you let him learn behind Peyton. Tell Peyton whatever you need to in order to keep him happy (although an upset and offended Peyton might be even better if he took it out on opponents like Montana did after they first brought in Steve Young), but you have to prepare for life after Peyton. It’s clear that the defense isn’t ready for that yet.

  58. No one played longer and meant more to an organization than Brett Favre did to the Packers and they got rid of him to usher in new blood.

    that showed that absolutely NO ONE is safe, and I hope there aren’t Colt or Peyton fans that are fooling themselves into thinking Peyton is untouchable.

    Except in this situation the Colts would be plenty justified as Peyton is dealing with a pretty major neck injury which might finish him or severely hinder his future on the field.

  59. Peyton Manning made Bill Polian. He’s not a genius, he just had the good fortune of PM falling into his lap. He absolutely would select Luck if given the opportunity. This would solidify his and his sons status for the next 12-15 years. In actuality, a fool could plug in talent around PM.

  60. Isn’t it funny that the same sports media folks who are quick to annoint Luck the new anything despite him not having stepped a foot on the NFL field are the same folks who are constantly telling the kid who beat Luck in every QB college race that he has to prove that he can play on the Elite level of the NFL as a qb and is always told what hurdle he needs to jump over in order to prove himself.

    Glad to see we really haven’t change much as a society.SMDH

  61. jagwar73 says:

    Peyton Manning made Bill Polian. He’s not a genius, he just had the good fortune of PM falling into his lap. He absolutely would select Luck if given the opportunity. This would solidify his and his sons status for the next 12-15 years. In actuality, a fool could plug in talent around PM.
    ———————————————-

    Polian’s not my favorite guy, but he was hailed as a football genius long before he joined the Colts and long before Peyton Manning came into the NFL. Don’t know how old you are, but pro football didn’t suddenly spring into existence in 1998. 🙄

  62. Deb:
    The only people who call Polian a genius is him and his family. He fell into Jim Kelly. Talk to anyone in Carolina, they will tell you how the genius left the place.

  63. We should have signed VICK when we had the chance, our poor fans are blind. They dont see life after peyton and never wants to. His time is ticking, if we dont find his replacement soon you’re looking at years of hardship to come. You’ve seen 1st hand what happens when peyton misses a game. Imagine how that will be when he retires…dont be soo quick to pass up on luck. Imagine where Green Bay would be right now if they thought like you fans…

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