Andrew Luck is willing to learn from Peyton Manning. He just wants everyone to know he’s ready to play next season, too.
The Stanford quarterback said yesterday in Indianapolis he could co-exist as Manning’s teammate even though his preference would be to play immediately.
“I think every competitor wants to play, every down, every play,’’ Luck said when asked about starting as an NFL rookie. “So, of course, who wouldn’t want to start?’’
Luck spent less than 24 hours in Indianapolis, going through a battery of physical tests and learning the intricacies of nutrition at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
His next trip to the city, for the annual scouting combine, might determine whether Luck becomes a permanent fixture.
Colts owner Jim Irsay already has said he intends to take Manning’s successor with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft, and it looks like a two-man race between Luck and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.
But there are big questions surrounding the Colts.
Indy has embarked on a major rebuilding project with Ryan Grigson, a first-time general manager, and Chuck Pagano, a first-time coach.
There are even more concerns about Manning, who missed the 2011 season after having his third neck surgery Sept. 8. The four-time league MVP has resumed throwing and has steadily increased his workout regimen. On Tuesday, Manning said doctors have told him the recovery is on schedule, and he does not plan to retire after 14 seasons in the NFL.
Irsay said he will wait until next month to decide whether to pay his franchise quarterback a $28 million roster bonus by March 8, redo the contract or risk losing him in free agency.
“We haven’t had any midnight conversations,’’ Irsay said. “Nothing has changed, and we’re looking forward to talking after the Super Bowl and continuing to work toward a solution.’’
Grigson acknowledged the Colts couldn’t afford to make a mistake based solely on sentimental reasons.
“You can’t do things to where you are going to hurt the whole franchise with other decisions that you know might hurt at the moment, but in the end they help the sum of the parts,’’ Grigson said. “It is a tough deal in this business, and it happens at every position, it happens with coaching, it happens with people in personnel and it is part of the process and the business.’’
Manning’s father, Archie, created a buzz late last year when he told a radio show he didn’t think the two could be teammates. He later said what he meant was that Luck and Peyton Manning both were good enough to start in 2012.
“I think to have an opportunity to play with a guy like Peyton Manning would be great,’’ he said.
The Lucks and Mannings have family ties, too. Andrew’s father, Oliver, and Archie Manning were teammates in Houston for two seasons in the 1980s, and Luck has been both a student and a counselor at the Mannings’ summer quarterback camp in Louisiana.
The Green Bay Packers didn’t have to look far to find their new offensive coordinator, promoting quarterbacks coach Tom Clements to replace Joe Philbin.
Clements has coached the Packers’ quarterbacks since 2006, Mike McCarthy’s first year in Green Bay. Philbin left to become the Dolphins’ head coach last month.
“Tom has been an integral part of our success and our staff, making it an obvious decision to promote him to offensive coordinator,’’ McCarthy said in a statement. “He has earned this opportunity and we look forward to continued offensive success in 2012.’’
The offensive-minded McCarthy calls his own plays, but relies on his offensive coordinator to plan during the week and help make adjustments during games.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has gone out of his way to credit Clements for helping his development. Clements’s name was linked to open jobs in the NFL and college recently.
Owners help Niners
League owners approved a $200 million loan to help the 49ers build a stadium south of Santa Clara, Calif.
The team plans to bid for future Super Bowls for the 68,000-seat stadium, which will be built adjacent to the 49ers’ facility.
The owners approved another part of the funding package two months after the team and Santa Clara announced they’d received an $850 million loan to cover most of the estimated $1 billion cost. The rest of the cost will be covered by the league’s loan, a hotel tax, and Santa Clara’s redevelopment funds.