Replacing Manning? Never Andrew Luck’s focus

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws against the New York Jets in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws against the New York Jets in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

INDIANAPOLIS (Colts) – All eyes will be on Denver Sunday night for the second meeting between Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning, but for Luck, replacing his predecessor has never been a big concern.

“To be honest, even since day one here, it hasn’t been an issue. I never came in saying, ‘Oh, I have to replace a legend, one of the greatest of all-time,’” Luck said Wednesday. “Professional sports people, they come and they go. Someone’s going to replace me eventually, hopefully later rather than sooner.”

It’s a realization Luck says he learned from his father being a quarterback and being around professional sports growing up. He says his teammates made the transition to the pros from college, after Manning’s time in Indianapolis, easier as well.

“Guys in the locker room didn’t make it feel like I had to be someone. They let me be myself,” Luck recalled. “It wasn’t difficult at all.”

“I don’t think from day one (Luck) was overwhelmed with that or even thought of that,” head coach Chuck Pagano said Wednesday. “I think everybody else did. We all talked about it. Everybody in this room wrote about it, but I think it went right over his head, because he was so focused on the job and task at hand. He doesn’t get distracted by anything.”

That included Luck’s first game against Manning last season. Luck last year threw for 228 yards versus Denver for three touchdowns and no interceptions in the week seven 39-33 win. He also rushed for another score, and he also reminded everyone Wednesday it’s not Peyton Manning he’s facing on the field. It’s the Broncos defense.

“I don’t think as an offense we’ve ever worried about the opposing offense too much,” Luck explained. “I think that’s sort of a slippery slope and dangerous game. Worrying about things outside of what the defense is doing, you’re bound to mess up somewhere…I don’t think it changes the mindset too much.”

Another example of that ultra focus Luck has had and will carry into the 2014 season opener.

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