Colts’ chief says Manning and Luck possible

Colts’ chief says Manning and Luck possible

Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 7:01 pm

By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Colts fans could have the best of both worlds in 2012 — Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck on the same roster.
On Bill Polian’s radio show Monday night, the team’s vice chairman acknowledged that even if Indianapolis took a quarterback with the No. 1 draft pick, presumably Luck, the only way to turn things around next season would be with a veteran.
Polian did not specifically discuss Luck, citing NFL rules that bar team officials from commenting on underclassmen who are not officially in the draft.
“Even if we were to draft a marquee guy in the first round, he’s not going to come in and contribute immediately unless he’s a rookie running back,” Polian said. “It takes time is the point I want to make.”
There are remarkable similarities between Manning and Luck.
Both had fathers who were NFL quarterbacks, and both were teammates with the Houston Oilers in the 1980s. The two second-generation quarterbacks also were Heisman Trophy runner-ups despite being projected as the best NFL prospects in their respective draft classes. And, just like 1998 when the Colts took Manning No. 1 overall, Indy is in position to have the top pick again.
If Indy pays Manning a $28 million bonus before free agency begins, he will remain with the Colts. If not, he could become a free agent.
Or the Colts could redo Manning’s contract to make it more manageable against the salary cap.
But with questions about Manning’s neck, some believe it’s time for the Colts to plan for the future and take Luck.
Manning, the NFL’s only four-time MVP had his third and most complicated neck surgery in 19 months on Sept. 8. He has been cleared to increase his rehabilitation regiment, but has not yet practiced with his teammates, leaving the Colts in a tricky predicament — gamble on Manning, rebuild with Luck or dress both in Colts’ jerseys.
“The issue of how you structure with or without Peyton is something that we’ll get answers to down the road. Really, until the preseason comes around, you’re not going to know what your team really looks like,” Polian said.
Published in The Messenger 12.13.11

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