FOXBOROUGH — Three weeks before Tom Brady made his first NFL start, Andrew Luck turned 12.
On the field before the opening kickoff of that game on Sept. 30, 2001, the young Patriot met the opposing quarterback for the first time.
“I was out there warming up for the game and he came over and he said, ‘Hey Tom, I’m Peyton,’ “ Brady recalled.
New England won that home game over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, 44-13. On Sunday, Brady will be the experienced star when the Patriots face the Colts again, this time with rookie Luck at quarterback.
And Luck may not get a warm greeting when he takes the field at Gillette Stadium. Brady said he’s not sure he’ll introduce himself.
“I don’t know. We’ll see,” he said. “Usually I don’t go out too early anymore. I tend to just keep to myself.”
If he does that to get in a competitive frame of mind, it makes sense in a game that should be tougher than the Patriots could have imagined when the season began. They were 13-3 last year and reached the Super Bowl, while the Colts were 2-14 with a variety of mediocre quarterbacks filling in for Manning, sidelined all last season after several neck surgeries.
After the season, Manning signed with the Denver Broncos. The Colts made Luck the first pick of the NFL draft and he’s having a much better rookie season than both Brady, who threw just three passes in 2000, and Manning, who started all 16 games when the Colts went 3-13 in 1998.
“As a rookie, I was like fourth-string and eating nachos before the game in the stands,” said Brady, now in his 13th season. “There wasn’t much of me thinking of playing.”
Luck tried to learn from Brady and Manning by watching the Patriots and Colts play each other through the years.