INDIANAPOLIS – Andrew Lucks first full weekend in Indianapolis has already given him a glimpse into what rookie life will be like.
Hes getting acclimated to a new locker room, new teammates and a new playbook, all while contending with the seemingly impossible job of replacing one of the citys biggest sports icons, Peyton Manning.
Welcome to Indy, kid.
The kickoff officially came Saturday night, when Lucks second day of rookie workouts at the Colts complex was upstaged by Mannings return to Indianapolis.
Its not the first time Manning has returned to the city he called home for 14 seasons, but its the first time hes been back since the Colts started holding offseason workouts, and its a stark reminder of the pressure the No. 1 overall draft pick will face in 2012.
Hes a great player, a great kid and hell fit in perfectly, Manning said of his successor. I reach out to most of the rookie quarterbacks because so many of them have been to our camp at the Manning Passing Academy, so Ive always kind of kept up with them. Andrew attended our camp and thats what I think is really the reason he was the first pick, because of all the great coaching he got down there.
Manning was in a playful mood before serving as the master of ceremonies for a fundraiser for the Peyton Manning Childrens Hospital at St.Vincent.
While Luck has acknowledged it would be foolish to measure himself every day against what Manning did on the field, thats precisely what the public will do.
Those inside the Colts complex seem to know whats coming this fall, too. After new Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Saturday that somewhere in the Colts locker room, they will find the next Dallas Clark or the next Joseph Addai, he was asked whether that also meant finding the next Peyton Manning in the locker room.
Just like the other guys, that guy (Luck) is going to be one of the building blocks, Pagano said. I think hes already said it. Do you ever replace a guy like that? No. But is he going to try to be as great as that guy (Manning) was or win as many games as that guy did? Yes.
Manning was released March 7 after he missed the entire 2011 season because of a nerve injury that caused weakness in his throwing arm. Eventually, the only four-time MVP in league history signed with Denver. Things seem to be going well and he promised to be ready for Denvers season opener Sept. 9 against Pittsburgh.
Its fine, its fine, he said when asked about the neck.
Manning said he and a group of ex-Colts teammates had dinner together in Indianapolis on Friday night, and it looks as if some of his old pals could soon have new jobs. He said running back Joseph Addai could be headed to New England and that Clark has lined up visits to two teams, though he did not divulge which ones.
In the meantime, Luck is simply trying to get ready for the biggest challenge of his life: Replacing Manning.
It is a barrage of information, he said. Yeah, you are not going to get 100 percent of it, but as much as you can get it helps a lot. I am really thankful to be here and to have that sort of information overload.