As Peyton Manning gears up for the next phase of his career with the Denver Broncos, the Indianapolis Colts fans that he left behind are still licking our wounds in the wake of a disastrous 2011 season. I’ll admit that it’s really hard to keep from reading the various accounts of Manning’s progress in the Mile High City and being a bit envious when I hear that his arm strength looks to be improving all the time. Luckily for me and the rest of the Horseshoe faithful, the NFL draft is just around the corner, and that means that the next franchise quarterback should be under the Colts’ roof within the next month. Owner Jim Irsay and the rest of the Colts brass apparently got a little taste of that future when presumed first pick, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, in Indianapolis on April 10. The stop in Indy was to be followed by a visit with the Washington Redskins later on Tuesday, in what I think amounts to the ultimate tease. Maybe Luck can hand-deliver a Colts hat to `Skins owner Daniel Snyder.
Although Irsay continues to spew the company line about not having decided on their pick yet, it’s pretty obvious that Luck is the man around whom the Colts plan to rebuild. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, who is the only guy who could possibly unseat Luck at the top of the draft board, will not visit the Colts. Similarly, Luck worked out for the Colts last week, while Griffin did not. Heck, even Irsay cracked a virtual grin over the weekend as he tried to continue his little fib. Among his many recent tweets, Irsay slipped in the revelation that the draft evaluation process is “#12,” Luck’s jersey number.
So, Indy fans, try to enjoy the intrigue while it lasts. When commissioner Roger Goodell ambles to the microphone on to announce the Colts’ pick, there will be no disappointments, and no flashy endings. The good news for us is that the end of the “mystery” should spell the beginning of a promising future with Andrew Luck at the helm of the Indianapolis offense. He may never be Peyton Manning, because there is only one of those, but the Luck show sure will be fun to watch.
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.