INDIANAPOLIS -- Bill Polian already is looking for the next Peyton Manning.
The Colts vice chairman told radio listeners Monday night that while the team expects Manning to return from neck surgery this season or next and to play at least several more years in Indianapolis, he's already contemplating who could be the star quarterback's heir.
"Peyton's at the age now where he recognizes and we recognize that his career is in the homestretch," Polian said during his weekly radio show.
"While we fully expect he'll be back and we fully expect he'll be with us next year, it is time that we give the quarterback position some serious consideration. We do that every year. The question is what pick do you use on a quarterback and how do you structure the contract and that sort of thing."
Manning is expected to miss at least two months and possibly the entire season after having surgery Thursday to fuse two bones together in his neck. It's the third surgery he has had on his neck in the past 19 months, but the only injury that has kept the four-time league MVP from starting an NFL game.
Polian didn't talk about the two names generating the most discussion in Indy -- former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard or ex-Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer -- and didn't say if the Colts would use a high draft pick on a quarterback in 2012.
Clearly, they are looking, though.
Last year, the Colts brought in two quarterbacks, Andrew Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, for pre-draft workouts. Both were taken in the second round of the draft in April, by the Bengals and San Francisco 49ers, respectively.
A Colts spokesman confirmed that Polian was in North Carolina over the weekend to watch Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. The game also served as a family reunion for the Polians, whose son, Brian, is an assistant at Stanford. Polian has a home in North Carolina, where he plans to retire.
"You look at every position, and Peyton and I did talk when we did his last contract that the time is approaching to look at new quarterbacks and we have to evaluate whether they could be starting quarterbacks for the Indianapolis Colts," Polian said.
"We took a look at a couple of quarterbacks last year, they didn't fall to us. But had they, we may have taken them. We're going to scout them (quarterbacks) as if we will take them, but that's a long process between now and then (the draft)."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press