The Indianapolis Colts have said they’ll select Stanford University quarterback Luck with the top pick in the April 26 draft. The Colts released 35-year-old quarterback Peyton Manning on March 7. Manning, who won a Super Bowl title and four league Most Valuable Player awards in 14 years with the Colts, sat out last season after undergoing neck surgeries.
Manning’s move to a new team and Luck’s arrival in the league may be a boost for Nike, the biggest sporting goods maker, which takes over from Reebok International Ltd. (RBK) next month as the maker of NFL-branded apparel and uniforms. Manning’s No. 18 jersey has been among the NFL’s top 10 sellers since 2004.
“I look forward to pursuing the next chapter of my career with such an innovative company supporting me,” Luck, 22, said in a statement last night on the website of Beaverton, Oregon- based Nike, which didn’t reveal details of the deal.
Luck, who was runner-up the past two years for the Heisman Trophy, guided Stanford to an 11-1 record and passed for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns last season.
Former Baylor University quarterback Robert Griffin III, who won the Heisman Trophy in December, is expected to be picked second in the draft. The Washington Redskins three days ago announced that they’d agreed to give the St. Louis Rams three first-round selections in exchange for the second pick in the draft.
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