Andrew Luck may be NFL-ready, but the Stanford quarterback — who could end up joining Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts — said Friday that he would have no problem being drafted by a team with an established quarterback.
"I'm sure it would be a positive. I'm sure it would all work out, whatever the situation is," said Luck, who was in Baltimore to accept the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which goes to college football's top senior or fourth-year junior quarterback.
At 0-12, the Colts — who play the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday — have the NFL's worst record and are in line to make the first pick in the 2012 draft. Don't some teams have all the Luck?
Luck, a Heisman Trophy finalist for the second straight year, said he can't help but notice the success first-year quarterbacks have had. The Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton has had one of the best seasons passing of any rookie in league history.
"If you look at the league right now, all the rookies that are doing so well, I think it's very possible to start," Luck said.
But Luck was quick to point out that other quarterbacks have fared well while serving what amounted to apprenticeships while they waited their turn. Luck cited Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, "who sat down for a while and now [is] arguably playing better than anybody. Every situation is different."
Luck's father, Oliver — the West Virginia athletic director who played in the NFL with Manning's father, Archie — said the early success of an NFL quarterback rests partly on factors beyond the player's control.
"History would dictate there are guys ready to play right off the bat," he said. "College offenses have become way more sophisticated than they used to be. It also depends on what kind of surrounding [NFL] cast you have. Do you have a good running game? Do you have to carry the team?"
Interviewed at the Sports Legends Museum, Andrew Luck wore Stanford sweat pants and a blue Baltimore Colts jersey bearing the name and number — 19 — of the late quarterback whose name appears on the award he received Friday night.
Luck said it was a coincidence that he happened to be wearing a jersey of the franchise likely to get the first pick in the next NFL draft.
"This is all about Johnny Unitas and honoring him, and has nothing to do with the NFL in any way," said Luck, who will learn Saturday whether he will win the Heisman. He said he hopes for better fortune than last season, when Newton claimed the award.
"I have to make sure I have to change up my shirt-and-tie combination [this year]," Luck said.
Luck said it would be premature to comment specifically on the prospects of being claimed No. 1 by the Colts and playing on a team with Manning, who has been sidelined this season while recovering from neck surgery and congratulated Luck in a video message played at the award ceremony.
"I haven't really given much thought to the different scenarios of what could happen because I've got a bowl game to prepare for," Luck said. Stanford plays Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2.
Luck got a big dose of Baltimore. He toured the sports museum, examining the old jerseys of Unitas, Bert Jones and other former Colts. He appeared deferential, even slightly nervous, saying frequently what "an honor" it was to be associated with Unitas.
"I have seen some archival footage [of Unitas] — not enough. I wish I could see more," Luck said. "I have not seen the movie 'Diner,'" which is set in Baltimore, he said. "I'll put that on my 'watch list,' maybe watch it on the flight back to San Francisco."