The Indianapolis Colts finally found something Andrew Luck can’t do: sing.
Now they’re hoping the No. 1 overall draft pick will be in tune when he starts throwing Sunday afternoon.
Less than 24 hours after serenading teammates with ”Country Roads” during a rookie initiation, Luck trotted onto the practice field for his first NFL training camp workout – a light walkthrough that served as little more than a warmup act for Peyton Manning’s hand-picked successor.
”It’s always good to get out there with the offensive line, with the receivers, and it will be good to have a full-speed practice coming up this afternoon,” Luck said after the morning session.
Thousands of fans are expected to attend Indy’s first open practice Sunday afternoon at Anderson University, a Division III school located about 30 miles northeast of Indianapolis’ west side headquarters.
Though players will not be in full pads, the new franchise quarterback will finally get a chance to dust off that strong right arm and get in sync with the receivers he’s already been impressing.
”I think he’s ahead of all of us,” veteran Austin Collie said when he was asked about Luck’s command of the offense.
Even more than the veterans?
”I think so,” Collie added. ”He’s a smart individual, and he’s got to know more. He’s got to know what the receivers are doing, what the backs are doing, what the line is doing.”
That’s not all. Donnie Avery, now in his fifth NFL season but his first with the Colts, said he likes Luck’s take-charge approach in the huddle.
Fans are wondering how long it will take Luck to start hitting all the right notes on the field.
While the Stanford grad has been billed as the most NFL-ready quarterback since Manning entered the league with the Colts in 1998, many forget that Manning’s record-setting rookie season also included only three victories and a rookie record 28 interceptions.
So first-year coach Chuck Pagano and the veterans are all pleading for patience on the field.
The similarities between Manning and Luck are remarkable. Both had fathers who were NFL quarterbacks, finished as Heisman Trophy runner-ups and were taken No. 1 overall after sticking around for one more college season despite urging from the ”experts” to leave school earlier.
And now they have something else in common: bad singing reviews.
Teammates panned Manning’s rendition of ”Rocky Top” in 1998, and Luck endured the same fate when he chose ”Country Roads” after reporting to camp Saturday. Luck’s father, Oliver, is the West Virginia athletic director, and punter Pat McAfee – a Mountaineers alum – jumped in to help Luck when his new teammates started booing.
Luck said he chose the song because it was the only one he knew the words to.
That didn’t matter to the tough crowd.
”It was awful,” Pagano said. ”I’m glad he’s not doing that for a living because he wouldn’t have gotten the signing bonus he got. It was a great effort, though.”