For the last month, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has regaled fans with promises about Andrew Luck, assuring us that the rookie quarterback was close to signing his contract as the number one overall NFL draft pick this season. The weeks have passed, though, and so has Luck's college gradation and the team's mini-camp, all with no deal in place. The local media and water cooler talk has been remarkably tepid on this topic, considering that the franchise has wagered its future on Luck, but the rumble has started to grow as July looms over the horizon. For those of us seeking answers, Len Pasquarelli of The Sports Xchange says that endorsements may be cause of the current impasse. In particular, it seems that the Colts may want to retain a large degree of control of Luck's image going forward.
According to Pasquarelli, the Colts feel that former quarterback Peyton Manning gained too much commercial exposure during his years in Indianapolis, and they apparently want veto power over Luck's endorsement deals to prevent the same thing from happening with the young quarterback. To me, this is a preposterous notion on just about every front, and I really hope it's not a sign that Irsay is becoming even more controlling than he has already been. We're just a stone's throw from Jerry Jones territory as it stands.
If the Colts really think that Manning was "overexposed," then they should take a quick gander at Lucas Oil Stadium, that Lombardi Trophy in their display case and Downtown Indianapolis, which received quite a face lift as the host city of this year's Super Bowl. Without Manning, the success that he brought to the franchise and, yes, the commercial exposure that his guffawing personality demanded, we would have none of those. Take away Manning and all of the good things about the Colts over the last decade would be missing, as well, no matter what the front office egos might see in their mirrors.
Asking Luck to curtail his endorsement activities shows a lack of faith in his judgement right from the beginning of the professional relationship that the team and their future should be trying to forge. He has done nothing to hint that he will embarrass himself or his team, and he has a strong support network of agents and family in place. I say let them handle their own business, and the Colts will reap the benefits.
I'll bet that if the team plays nice, Luck would likely consult them anyway, no coercion needed.
Adam Hughes was raised, and still lives, in rural Indiana. He has been a Colts fans since the team arrived in Indianapolis on a snowy morning in 1984. The Blue and White eventually replaced the Chicago Bears as his #1 team, and Super Bowl XLI was a dream come true.