Colts vice chairman Bill Polian acknowledged Monday night on his weekly radio show that even if Indianapolis took a quarterback with the No. 1 overall draft pick, the only way to turn things around next season would be with a veteran.
Polian didn't specifically discuss Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, citing NFL rules that bar team officials from commenting on underclassmen who aren't officially in the draft.
"Even if we were to draft a marquee guy in the first round, he's not going to come in and contribute immediately unless he's a rookie running back," Polian said. "It takes time is the point I want to make."
Manning, the NFL's only four-time MVP, had his third and most complicated neck surgery in 19 months on Sept. 8. He has been cleared to increase his rehabilitation regiment, but he hasn't yet practiced with his teammates, leaving the Colts in a tricky predicament for next season -- gamble on Manning, rebuild with a rookie quarterback or dress both in Colts jerseys.
"The issue of how you structure with or without Peyton is something that we'll get answers to down the road," Polian said. "Really, until the preseason comes around, you're not going to know what your team really looks like.
"If we were to take a rookie quarterback and we were to play him, he would struggle. Remember, Peyton was 3-13 his rookie year, and he did not really look like the quarterback that he became until, ironically, this time of year in Baltimore where we lost in a shootout. ... It's going to take any rookie, whether be it Anthony Castonzo or anyone else, one good year to get their feet underneath them. Then you have an offseason program, and then he's really ready to contribute."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press