INDIANAPOLIS — All Andrew Luck wanted to do was stay composed on the field.
He could have fooled anyone.
While Luck acknowledged that he was still trying to get acclimated to a new playbook, a new locker room and new teammates, those who watched closely Friday said the new Colts quarterback looked a whole lot like the one they remembered at Stanford.
“He’s the same Andrew, as brilliant as ever,” said tight end Coby Fleener, Indianapolis’ second-round pick and one of Luck’s college teammates. “He went out and was calling plays that were probably 30 words long off the top of his head. He’s amazing.”
Luck wore a red No. 12 jersey, just like he did in college, and of course it helped to have some familiar faces on the practice field – notably Fleener and another ex-Stanford teammate, receiver Griff Whalen.
But the No. 1 overall pick in last week’s NFL draft acknowledged Friday’s debut did not feel the same. He was anxious and nervous. Television and still cameras were scattered around the back side of the team complex, and some of the team’s front-office personnel even came outside to catch their first real glimpse of the new franchise quarterback.
Most were impressed with what they saw in the first workout of this weekend’s rookie minicamp.
“He’s unflappable, mature beyond his years,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “You listen to some of those play calls and you know why he’s an architectural engineer. He’s going to have a great career in that in about 15 years.”
Pagano said he’s hoping the 38 new players learn some simple things this weekend: What it takes to be a professional, where to line up, play calls and the tempo of practice.
“I like being thrown into the fire a little bit,” Luck said when asked about the immersion into the playbook. “It’s like coach Clyde (Christensen) says, throw some mud at the wall and see what sticks. But I think no matter what, you’re going to struggle out there at first.”
Christensen, the quarterbacks coach, and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians spent time Friday giving Luck private lessons, but the workout was hardly a struggle.
Luck handed off on each of his first three snaps, and it took nearly 20 minutes for one of Luck’s throws to hit the ground.
“I didn’t get too melodramatic out there, it wasn’t too monumental in my mind,” Luck said of his first workout.
He might have been the only one.
“It’s monumental,” Pagano said. “We’ve talked about it before and they (Colts fans) saw the same thing happen 13 years ago. We feel great about him, he’s a natural leader.”
After flying back to Palo Alto, Calif., on Sunday, Luck won’t return to the Colts’ complex until June 8, the day after he finishes classes at Stanford. League rules prohibit rookies from working out with their new teams until classes end with the exception of one three-day minicamp.
The Colts have contacted with Luck’s agent, Will Wilson, to negotiate a contract. Team owner Jim Irsay said last weekend he expected the process to go quickly and that Luck’s deal would be almost identical to the four-year, $22 million deal Cam Newton signed last summer.