INDIANAPOLIS – For the umpteenth time,
No, not the one about his neard, or the flip phone.
As the question began on Wednesday afternoon---”Coach was talking about you replacing Peyton Manning…”---Luck’s facial expressions didn’t change.
His tone of voice showed no signs of displeasure with the question being asked.
Luck understands sports. He understands storylines. And he’s just happy to be a part of it.
“I never came in thinking, ‘Oh, I have to replace a legend, one of the greatest of all-time.’
“You realize in professional sports people come and they go. Someone’s going to replace me eventually. Hopefully, later rather than sooner. I never really worried about it. Guys in the locker room didn’t make it feel like I had to be someone. They let me be myself, let me do things as I did. It wasn’t difficult at all.”
In his two NFL seasons, Luck has put up numbers that surpassed Manning’s early tenure.
Luck’s 22 wins are the second most for any quarterback after two years, his completions (682) and passing yards (8,196) top the list.
Chuck Pagano sees Luck work, and work, and work so this isn’t a surprise to the head coach.
“The guy’s just relentless. He’s relentless. He’s relentless on the field, he’s relentless in the classroom, he’s relentless in walk-throughs,” Pagano says of Luck.
“Every part of his job, in the training room, in the weight room, warmups; you guys are out there for all that stuff. He’s got a routine and he’s a pro’s pro, and he was a pro’s pro early.”
Luck has the rare makeup of a player who understands the responsibility that comes with being the face of a franchise, yet doesn’t get caught up in the hoopla that inevitably comes his way.
The questions continue to come Luck’s way and the quarterback deflects them like a defender trying to bring down the 240-pound signal caller.
“I don’t think from day one he was overwhelmed with that, or even the thought of that,” Pagano says of Luck thinking he was replacing Manning.
“It went right over his head because he was so focused on the job and the task at hand, and has continued to do that where he doesn’t get distracted by anything. The guy has such great focus that he never paid any attention to it and understood that he had a job to do, and his focus was just being the best quarterback he could be, and being that guy early, sooner than later.”
Sunday night will be another grand stage for Luck to show the entire NFL what Colts fans have been privy to these last couple of years.
Most will tune it to watch Manning and Luck potentially duel it out at Mile High Stadium.
Ever the student of the game, Luck knows the implications extend far past the play of the two quarterbacks.
“What a great opportunity for this team, this club,” Luck says of playing the defending AFC Champions.
“It’ll be a great test. You want to start out with a tough one, and this will certainly be one. Especially on the road, it’ll be a great atmosphere I’m sure. It should be a lot of fun.”