For all the folks participating in what has turned into a sideshow in Indianapolis this week, it’s striking that the most mature person in the process is also the youngest.
While Colts owner Jim Irsay couldn’t help poking a bee’s nest this week with his comments about the return of Peyton Manning, and Manning went the passive-aggressive clam-up route, and former Colts General Manager Bill Polian told everyone to get off his lawn, and even Broncos coach John Fox stepped out of character to get his shots in, there was someone being exceedingly regular.
“I never viewed it as replacing Peyton,” Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said, via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. “I just viewed it as an opportunity to play quarterback in the NFL, and it just so happened that one of the greatest of all time was here before me.”
The 24-year-old Luck might as well have been wearing a Boy Scout uniform and drinking milk and talking into his flip-phone as he said it. While he’s been yanked into a huge storyline this week, the second-year quarterback has been as calm in front of the media as he’s been in the fourth quarters of games.
“We all know that Andrew is mature beyond his years,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “He doesn’t play like a second-year quarterback. I don’t feel like it’s necessary for me or for anybody else to even go there. Certainly [we] talk about all the noise surrounding this, all the distractions, all the clutter, everything that’s out there. But at the end of the day, it’s the Colts versus the Broncos. The game is going to be played between the white lines. That’s where his focus will be.”
Luck acknowledged that Manning set a high bar for him in Indianapolis, and called Manning “a great role model,” and just was as normal as he could possibly be.
“People in the Midwest have been incredibly kind,” Luck said of the reception he’s gotten after replacing a future Hall of Famer. “It makes it easier, the transition. I never worried about what the fans were going to think of me.
“I figured if you can take of your business, if you can hopefully win some football games then it becomes easier on that end.”
That lack of bombast might also speak to why he’s so good on Sundays, and will be for some time to come.