ANDERSON — Andrew Luck is getting a full immersion into the NFL.
Like other rookies, the Colts’ new quarterback will have to walk the stairs to his upper-floor dorm room at Anderson University. Like other rookies, defensive lineman Cory Redding still expects Luck to traipse off the field carrying pads and helmets from the veterans. And like everyone else on this new-look roster, Luck’s introduction to training camp was upstaged when Reggie Wayne showed up with his military team.
No, Luck is not just some other rookie on the Colts’ roster – he was the No. 1 draft choice in April and the hand-picked successor to Peyton Manning. Yet when he reported to camp Saturday, Luck sounded like just another guy trying to make the roster.
“Obviously, a little nervous,” he said. “I think it’s good to be a little nervous about things. I’m excited to get going, anxious.”
Colts coaches are eager to see what they have in Luck.
They worked with him during a three-day rookie minicamp in early May then didn’t see him again until mid-June because of Luck’s class schedule at Stanford.
It was Wayne who stole the show Saturday.
The Pro Bowl receiver took less money to return to his adopted hometown and has a penchant for making interesting entrances. He contacted the Indiana Recruiting Command, which secured three Humvees from the Indiana National Guard’s 38th aviation unit in Shelbyville. Seven soldiers in the convoy met Wayne in Anderson, then made the short drive with Wayne to the dorms.
He dressed in combat boots and military fatigues and later explained the entrance was intended to send a message about teamwork.
“I don’t want people to look at this like it’s a joke. I fully support our military. I’m taking a page out of their book, and I want our team to take a page out of their book. They are the true heroes,” Wayne said.
Since Manning’s release in March, virtually all of the talk around the Colts has been about how fast Luck could make the transition from two-time Heisman runner-up to franchise quarterback.
“He has a little bit of Peyton, a little bit of Tim Couch and a little bit of Ben (Roethlisberger), so I’m really anxious to see him grow. He has the best of all three of those guys,” said new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who worked with all three former first-round picks.
Colts fans will have to wait a little longer to see Luck. Today’s schedule calls for a morning walkthrough and a full afternoon practice. Players won’t be in full pads until later in the week.
Redding has his own game plan to immerse Luck into the ways of the NFL.
“It’s vets like myself, you help them calm down by giving them your pads to carry, giving them your helmet, all that kind of stuff,” Redding said. “He’s a rookie. Everybody, no matter if you are No. 1 or 131, everybody pays their dues in some form or fashion.”
Luck signed a four-year, $22.1 million deal last week.
“You get your dorm room, you take your clothes out, put your sheets down on the bed, it definitely hits you,” he said. “Your life (at camp) turns very simple. You really have football to focus on and not much else. That excites me.”