HOUSTON – Owner Jim Irsay stopped well short of saying that the Indianapolis Colts were looking for an eventual successor to quarterback Peyton Manning(notes), but he strongly indicated Monday that his team would be willing to take someone such as Stanford's Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL draft if the opportunity presented itself.
"Guys like that come along so rarely," Irsay said, referring to Manning and what many are projecting of Luck. The Stanford quarterback is already widely considered a near-lock to be the No. 1 overall pick. "Even if that means that guy sits for three or four years, you'd certainly think about taking him … you see what Green Bay did with [Brett] Favre and [Aaron] Rodgers and you'd like to be able to do the same thing."
With the 35-year-old Manning out indefinitely after having neck surgery earlier this season to fuse two vertebrae, the Colts have gotten off to a league-worst 0-5 start (Miami and St. Louis are 0-4). There has already been rampant speculation about whether the Colts would take Luck as a successor to Manning.
The Colts could have an inside edge when it comes to evaluating Luck. Stanford special teams coordinator Brian Polian is the son of Colts' team president Bill Polian.
Irsay, in town for the NFL's annual fall meeting, said there are many circumstances and situations yet to play out, including the hope that the Colts would start to win some games after losing by seven points or less in each of the past three games. However, he certainly seemed to be leaning toward the idea of adding another franchise-type quarterback.
When asked if it was better to rebuild the core of the team, which includes 30-and-older players such as Dwight Freeney(notes), Robert Mathis(notes), Reggie Wayne(notes) and Dallas Clark(notes), Irsay again seemed to be leaning toward the quarterback.
"We believe that if Peyton was playing this year, we might be 4-1. He has the ability to make up for a lot of deficiencies," Irsay said. "With guys like Freeney and Mathis, we feel like they could be contributors for awhile to come.
"We're a team in transition, but we have been a team in transition before when we went from great players like Edgerrin [James], Marvin Harrison(notes) and Tarik Glenn … you look at the Bears with [Brian] Urlacher and [Julius] Peppers as the core of their team. Guys who are 30 and older can be huge contributors."
- Jim Irsay