It’s been written numerous times over the past three football seasons how Andrew Luck has all the physical skills necessary to be a once-in-a-generation kind of quarterback.
Never by me, but I’m writing it now.
Remove the Chia Pet reunion taking place on his face and Luck, who is overqualified to be the poster boy for perpetual optimism, provides even the most disapproving individuals barely any room for criticism.
The kid occasionally frozen-ropes a pass attempt downfield that leaves fans scratching their heads. And, yes, Luck as an adept runner absorbs more hits from massively large men with bad intentions than he probably should.
No one is perfect. But he’s close.
Luck’s genuine politeness to media members, ball boys, coaches, teammates, trainers, fans — OK, basically everyone who crosses his path — will grow to legendary proportions by the time his NFL career nears its conclusion.
And no one deflects credit better.
When the Indianapolis offense flourishes, it’s because of someone else. The receivers making great grabs or offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton calling the ideal play for that situation. Or it’s that the offensive line and running backs gave him all the time in the world to throw.
When the offense flourishes, it’s not because of Andrew Luck. At least not in the opinion of Andrew Luck.
He uses the word ‘great’ a lot. But never — never! — when describing himself.
Luck considers himself one of the guys, and he is. There is no pedestal beneath him, nor does he want one. By refusing to consider himself special, Luck, naturally, becomes that much more special.
As incredible as Peyton Manning’s career in a Colts uniform was, one often got the impression he was on a noticeably higher rung within the locker room than the other 52 players in the locker room.
Luck doesn’t take himself nearly as serious, though both men share that all-important trait which makes them Pro Bowl players — a disdain of losing.
I witnessed Luck’s first NFL game in person, the 41-21 loss at Chicago to open the 2012 regular season, and have been present for all but one of his home games since.
In that time he’s made some unbelievable throws. One of the best on his personal highlight reel came midway through the third quarter of Sunday’s win.
Pressured by Bengals’ defenders behind the line of scrimmage, Luck looked as though he was about to run the ball up the middle when he located rookie Donte Moncrief and delivered a perfect 36-yard rainbow for a touchdown.
Never mind Luck was in the process of being tripped by the meaty paws of Cincinnati defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
By the time he retires from professional football it will be a photo finish to see if Luck the football player edges out Luck the human being – or vice versa.
Luck’s backup, 16-year NFL veteran Matt Hasselbeck, would hate to be the one making the call.
“You know I think he’s just continued to get better at both. He’s already pretty great at both things, but he takes a lot of pride in what he does. The thing that probably separates him from some other young quarterbacks is just how humble he is,” Hasselbeck said.
“Andrew truly isn’t giving you company lines when he’s deflecting praise to the offensive line or to the receivers or the coaches or the trainers. He truly wants them to get the credit, and it’s truly refreshing. He’s obviously talented and smart, but he works real hard, too.”