The Manning questions are just beginning, but Luck seems to know how to handle them. (Clyde Griffith)
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — It has all the intrigue of a soap opera -- or a dual-family drama.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, almost assuredly the first overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, attended the Manning Passing Academy in the eighth and ninth grades, hosted by the family whose son, Peyton Manning, he will likely replace in Indianapolis as quarterback of the Colts. In addition it was Andrew's father, Oliver Luck, who served as the backup quarterback with the Houston Oilers to Archie Manning for two seasons from 1982-3. Archie is of course the father of Peyton.
Get that straight?
Both Andrew and his father were in Atlantic City on Thursday and Friday so that Andrew could receive the Maxwell Award from the Maxwell Football Club as the nation's top college player. In addition Archie Manning, without sons Eli or Peyton, was also at Harrah's Resort to receive a lifetime achievement award from the organization, putting both personalities on the same dais on the same night. Archie of course fielded questions about his son Peyton, who is expected to shortly be cut from the Colts.
The younger Luck admitted he hasn't talked with Peyton, who due a $28 million bonus from the Colts on March 8 and didn't play last year due to multiple neck surgeries. Andrew and Archie did talk briefly at the Maxwell Awards press conference on Friday morning.
"I said 'hello.' My father backed him up in Houston so they've known each other forever," Andrew said.
There is plenty of drama surrounding "Peyton Watch." The Colts must decide if their current quarterback and his four neck surgeries will be ready to play this next season, let alone assume the level that saw him become one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
"I guess it's interesting," Andrew said. "I have had a chance to know the Manning family and they are great, unbelievable people. I understand people speculate, it is part of the business and it's part of the way the world works today. Whatever happens will happen for the best and I'm sure it'll work out."
"There is a long way to go before anything happens, so I don't really pay attention to what is said. If it happens - great; if it doesn't - great. I am not getting caught up in things before they happen. I think you make it work in whatever position you find yourself in. I'm sure it'll be fine."
Roughly 20 feet away from Andrew at the time of those statements was Archie, also surrounded by cameras and lights, telling roughly a dozen reporters that Peyton was "fine as far as throwing and velocity on the ball."
In fact, there seems to be truth to the fact that Peyton, whom Archie said has seen "four neurosurgeons," seems to be rounding into form. On Friday an unauthenticated video has surfaced of Peyton purportedly throwing to receivers at Duke University.
The speculation and talk of replacing a legend with the Colts is not something Andrew wants to get caught up in, and he'd rather just focus on getting ready to start a career that some are already hailing will set its own NFL records.
"Not to discredit what they're [the media] are saying. They're not right or wrong, but I understand that good things can be said about you, bad things can be said about you," Andrew said.
"At the end of the day it's about playing football, and that's all I worry about."
Follow Kristian R. Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer
- Archie Manning
- Peyton Manning