Andrew Luck, right, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, was drafted No.… (Chris Chambers / Getty Images )
Andrew Luck was the No. 1 pick in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday, and his comments afterward show part of the reason. He not only was a force on the field, but he also clearly understands the right things to say for a guy in his position.
And to be sure, it's not an ordinary position: replacing one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Peyton Manning and being anointed the savior for a club that lost its first 13 games last season with Manning out of commission.
"The most exciting part is being a part of a new locker room, new guys, that's really what I'm stoked about is getting to meet the guys," Luck said.
"It exceeded all expectations on all levels, from the energy, the excitement to the media circus afterward. It was way over the proportion that I expected it to be at, which was great. This is a big deal, I guess."
The Colts didn't make much of a secret about their choice as the No. 1 pick during the week and gave NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a No. 12 jersey with Luck's name on it before the draft, the Associated Press reported.
Luck is meeting fans and reporters Friday in Indianapolis, the first day of what Colts fans hope is a return to the glory of the Manning era. Colts Coach Chuck Pagano is understandably excited, hoping that Luck's career can at least approach that of Manning, drafted first in 1998.
"I think this thing happened 14 years ago and I think that it's all happening once again right before our eyes," he said.
"You can talk about all the measurables -- his football IQ, his character, his integrity, his passion for the game, his work ethic. He grew up in a football family .... He's very, very humble. He's a great leader, very, very competitive. When you look at clean players across the board -- height, weight, speed, intelligence -- A to Z, if you want to label him a 9 or 10 in every one of those categories."
Luck knows that following Manning will be a challenge -- one the he believes he's up to.
"I realize you could go crazy trying to measure yourself to Peyton Manning every day," Luck said on a conference call. "That would be an insane way to live.
"I know his legendary status, really. He was my hero growing up. Huge shoes to try and fill if you're trying to do that. I'll just put my best foot forward and work hard every day. If one day I can be mentioned alongside Peyton as one of the football greats, that would be a football dream come true."
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