Luck is the precocious, unshakable quarterback who won 22 games in his first two seasons, made the playoffs twice and did the impossible: take Colts fans' minds off Peyton Manning while he's still in the league winning MVPs for another team. Yeah, one of those 22 wins came against Peyton in the House that Peyton Built. Not too shabby.
Luck's skill for compartmentalizing, his Stanford education, his face-of-the-franchise will and patience, at age 24 (yes, he's that young still), have become the stuff of lore. And yet there's a breaking point.
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Luck is backed up by Matt Hasselbeck, who is 14 years Luck's senior and who has started 131 games over a 10-year stretch as the symbol of the Seattle Seahawks' franchise. And like Luck, Hasselbeck was extremely gracious with his time, he looked people in the eye when they asked him questions and he was willing to make sacrifices for the greater good — whatever the team needed, as it were.
But now Hasselbeck openly wondered whether that's always the best thing as it relates to Luck.
"The danger, in my opinion, is that people put too much on a guy that they don't put on him in their first and second years when he had restraints on him," Hasselbeck told Shutdown Corner. "They'll say, 'Oh, that was great!' and 'That was great!' and just keep piling it on his plate, and that's not good. If it's your 10th year or your third year, that's never a good thing."
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Hasselbeck gave that answer in the context after being asked about Luck's amazing ability to handle an incredible load of responsibility, both on the field and off, entering his third season. So while Hasselbeck wasn't spefically saying that the Colts are doing this to Luck, he did say that Luck wasn't pushing back at anything the Colts were asking him to do.
"He craves it, he wants more," Hasselbeck said of Luck. "He probably can handle it more than most people, but I am just not a fan of that. Tom Brady, Brett Favre, whoever it is ... I just think you can overburden a guy."
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said the team closely monitors how much they ask of any player, especially their star quarterback.
"We worry about all that stuff," Pagano said. "You try to limit the distractions. Distractions can come from anywhere. Whether it's volume, playbook-wise, or things [off the field]. That applies to not only Andrew but everyone."
Luck spoke Tuesday about the pressure that comes with setting the bar so high in his first two 11-win seasons in the NFL.
"There's always high expectations since I have been there," he said. "When you come to an organization that has missed the playoffs, what, twice in the past 15 years or whatever it has been, people know how to win here, and they expect to win here.
"I'd say the goal this year isn't any different this year than it was either of the two previous years. It's to go out and to try to win a Super Bowl. That's why you play. I don't really think anything has really changed internally from the inner circle of this facility. Maybe the outside expectations are bigger, smaller ... but that has no bearing on how we prepare or how we view things."
Still, Hasselbeck wonders if the rest of the Colts around Luck can't all be asked to pick up a little of the slack, from on-field responsibilities to post-football events with fans.
"It's a team effort," he said. "You don't want to have to do other people's jobs. It's doing media all the time. Doing community outreach all the time. It's letting the center call out the 'Mike' [linebacker], you know?
"There's a lot of, 'Hey, we want you to talk to the team tonight,' or 'We want you to be at this school.' There's something nice about teamwork. It's nice when you have a collective effort and not just one guy doing everything. That's just what I think works best."
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