Does Colts owner have eyes for another franchise quarterback?

If the Indianapolis Colts keep losing, Peyton Manning's neck injury just might lead the team to draft his successor.

Colts owner Jim Irsay hinted on Monday that his team would be interested in drafting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck next year if the opportunity presented itself, according to Yahoo! Sports.

"Guys like that come along so rarely," Irsay said, referring to Manning and Luck. The Stanford senior already is widely considered a near-lock to be the No. 1 overall pick. "Even if that means that guy sits for three or four years, you'd certainly think about taking him … you see what Green Bay did with (Brett) Favre and (Aaron) Rodgers and you'd like to be able to do the same thing."

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Manning is out indefinitely after having surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his neck. Without him, the Colts are 0-5 and have recently turned to backup Curtis Painter after free-agent signee Kerry Collins struggled then suffered a concussion.

Of course, to draft Luck the Colts would have to lose most if not all of their remaining games this season, a prospect that doesn't sit too well with the team's veterans.

Irsay, in Houston for the NFL Fall Meeting, also said the Colts might want Manning, the league's only four-time MVP, to play late in the year even if they are eliminated from playoff contention, according to CBSSports.com.

"Each season connects to the next season," Irsay said. "Just like when we were 3-13 in 1998 (Manning's rookie year) and were 13-3 in 1999. Each year connects, and there's a thread that runs through your team. You want to get better, and if you're getting better in December, that can carry through to next year."

Irsay also said he doesn't believe Manning's injury is career-threatening.

"He's 35, and he's had this surgery, so it's concerning," Irsay said. "But I don't feel ... and all the doctors I talked to don't feel ... like it's something that would end his career. Anything can happen in terms of having another setback. But, at this point, the way he's trending is up, we look for him to be back, have three or four years and have the Peyton Manning era continue in Indianapolis."

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