Luck begins working out with new Indy teammates

Associated Press Modified: May 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm •  Published: May 4, 2012
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — All Andrew Luck wanted to do was stay composed on the field.

He could have fooled anyone.

While Luck acknowledged that he was still trying to get acclimated to a new playbook, a new locker room and new teammates, those who watched closely on Friday said the new Indianapolis Colts quarterback looked a whole lot like the one they remembered at Stanford.

"He's the same Andrew, as brilliant as ever," said tight end Coby Fleener, Indy's second-round pick and one of Luck's college teammates. "He went out and was calling plays that were probably 30 words long off the top of his head. He's amazing."

Luck wore a red No. 12 jersey, just like he did in college, and of course it helped to have some familiar faces on the practice field -- notably Fleener and another ex-Stanford teammate, receiver Griff Whalen

But the No. 1 overall pick in last week's NFL draft acknowledged Friday's debut did not feel the same.

He was anxious and nervous. Television and still cameras were scattered around the back side of the team complex, and some of the team's front-office personnel even came outside to catch their first real glimpse of the new franchise quarterback.

Most was impressed with what they saw in the first workout of this weekend's rookie mini-camp.

"He's unflappable, mature beyond his years," new coach Chuck Pagano said. "You listen to some of those play calls and you know why he's an architectural engineer. He's going to have a great career in that in about 15 years."

First, he'll get a crash course in NFL play-calling, which will be a challenge for someone widely regarded as the most polished college quarterback since Peyton Manning.

Pagano said he's hoping the 38 new players learn some simple things this weekend: What it takes to be a professional, where to line up, play calls and the tempo of practice.

For Luck, though, the expectations are greater. He's being asked to succeed Manning, who turned the Colts from an NFL afterthought into a perennial Super Bowl contender over 14 seasons. That means anything and everything the Colts' new franchise quarterback does will be heavily scrutinized, and Luck is doing everything he can to make it a smooth transition.

"I like being thrown into the fire a little bit," Luck said when asked about the immersion into the playbook. "It's like Coach Clyde (Christensen) says, throw some mud at the wall and see what sticks. But I think no matter what, you're going to struggle out there at first."

Christensen, the quarterbacks coach, and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians spent some time Friday giving Luck private lessons, but the workout was hardly a struggle.

Luck handed off on each of his first three snaps, and it took nearly 20 minutes for one of Luck's throws to hit the ground.

Of course, this is a day Luck has been preparing for his entire life.

His father, Oliver, played four seasons in the NFL with the Houston Oilers in the 1980s. The younger Luck, one of the nation's top-ranked prep quarterbacks, left his home state of Texas to play for rebuilding Stanford so he could be tutored by former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Three years into his college career, Luck was already being billed as the No. 1 prospect in the 2011 draft class and likely would have gone ahead of last year's offensive rookie of the year Cam Newton had he not returned to school.

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