Andrew Luck, the presumptive top pick in the 2011 NFL Draft should he choose to be, has decided to stay at Stanford and put the NFL on hold.
I admit to bias due to having gone to Stanford (and having the same first name) but this does not surprise me for a few reasons.
Palo Alto over Charlotte
First, Stanford is a special place and a Stanford degree is quite an accomplishment. Sure, Luck could have come back at another time to earn that degree and experience Stanford, but it would have been different. In terms of regret, he would have more regret being in Charlotte knowing he could be in Palo Alto than vice versa.
In a former life — mine and his — I represented Ricky Williams (before he left me for Master P). After his junior year, we filled out paperwork for him to enter the 1998 Draft, where he would have been picked probably by the Chicago Bears (instead of Curtis Enis) or the St. Louis Rams (instead of Grant Wistrom).
Knowing Ricky, I didn’t send in the paperwork until I talked to him again, when, not surprisingly, he had changed his mind. “Why would I go to Chicago or St. Louis,” he asked “when I can stay in Austin?” He went on: “Next year, I know I’ll have to play somewhere besides Austin, but if I can stay here, why would I go to one of those cities?” I talked about the money, but he was set on staying.
Luck will have no choice but to play somewhere besides Palo Alto soon, but not now.
Rookie scale changes equation
As to the money, as I have mentioned many times, the rookies will be served up in the next CBA. Management thinks they make too much, veteran players think they make too much. They have no voice in this fight and will be sacrificed in the name of getting other things done.
Whereas last year’s top pick Sam Bradford made $50 million guaranteed with a contract that could reach $78 million, this year’s top pick could be limited to $15 million guaranteed with a contract that could barely reach $20 million.
Of course, everything is subject to negotiation and the negotiation could result in a new rookie system not being implemented until 2012, but I don’t think that will happen. Without an advocate, the rookies will suffer compared to past classes.
Did the pending rookie scale make a difference to Luck? Maybe, but my sense is it was not overriding.
I know Luck’s father Oliver – he was general manager of the Frankfurt Galaxy of the NFL’s World League when I held that position with the Barcelona Dragons – and how diligent he was in researching the pros and cons of this decision for Andrew. A lot of thought went into this, and – although I am biased – it is an admirable decision.
As a Stanford alum, although we may be losing our coach, we are keeping our quarterback, a special player and, from all accounts, an even better young man.
Just when it seems as if everything in football is about the business of football, a story like this comes along. Nice to see.
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