The Andrew Luck era in the NFL can officially begin. The former Stanford quarterback opened that door by signing a four-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday.
Luck, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft who was brought in to help the proud franchise rebound after last year's horrible skid, reportedly will receive $22.1 million over four years. The deal, according to various reports, includes a $14.5 million signing bonus, is fully guaranteed and provides the team with a fifth-year option.
The contract is similar to the one signed by former No. 1 pick Cam Newton a year ago and the one signed this week by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, who signed a fully guaranteed four-year deal worth $21.1 million with the Washington Redskins.
With Peyton Manning now in Denver, Colts fans will get a rare opportunity to see the transition from one star quarterback to another.
Luck threw for 35 touchdowns last season -- breaking his school record of 32 in 2010 -- and eclipsed John Elway's career record (77) at Stanford with 80 touchdown passes in only three seasons. He finished with 3,170 yards passing, a 70 percent completion percentage and only nine interceptions without the benefit of an elite wide receiver in 2011. He was the Heisman Trophy runner-up twice.
Luck has a pretty good idea what to expect beyond wearing a No. 12 jersey for the Colts. He will be expected to help lead the team back from a 2-14 season that included an 0-13 start with Manning out recovering from neck surgery.
Luck is the cornerstone in Indy's biggest overhaul since Manning was drafted in 1998. He is expected to start immediately after playing in a pro-style system at Stanford, where he was originally tutored by former Colts' quarterback and 49ers' coach Jim Harbaugh.
After drafting Luck, the Colts picked tight end Coby Fleener, his Stanford teammate who is still unsigned, in the second round. They got another tight end in Clemson's Dwayne Allen and speedy receiver T.Y. Hilton to go with Reggie Wayne.