Colts QB Andrew Luck doesn't feel 'burden of leadership'

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck on entering his fifth season: "... you also realize that maybe you are old in NFL terms now a little bit, and the young guys are looking up to you." AP Photo/Darron Cummings

ANDERSON, Ind. -- Healthy? He says 100 percent. New contract? You can say he’s doing just fine since he'll be $140 million richer. Taking more of an outspoken leadership role? That’s next on the list of things for Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

Luck has always been looked upon as a leader because he's the quarterback, but he had players like Reggie Wayne and Matt Hasselbeck who were more of the outspoken leaders on offense. But those two veterans have departed over the past two seasons.

Now it’s Luck’s turn to do more leading.

"I wouldn’t say I feel the burden of leadership," he said. "Obviously, I think, a natural progression as the older you get the more of a role you’re going to take, and maybe the way you embrace that role changes a little bit. I know I’ve been definitely more vocal as the years have gone on and maybe felt like if my opinion needs to be heard I don’t hesitate in making sure that it’s said. So to me it’s not a burden in any sense, it’s a privilege."

The Colts have undergone numerous roster and coaching staff changes over the past couple of seasons, which has left Luck as one of the team's elder statesmen. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo is the only regular offensive starter who has been with the Colts longer than Luck and the rest of the players from the 2012 draft class. Castonzo is heading into just his sixth NFL season.

"I don’t feel old," Luck said with a grin. "I still feel like a kid at heart, but it’s good. I was thinking about it talking to my girlfriend. I was sort of equating it to college. You’ve graduated college -- four years, you're in your fifth year, so we’ll see how it goes, but you also realize that maybe you are old in NFL terms now a little bit, and the young guys are looking up to you."

How Luck has gotten his message across to his teammates started last season when he was forced to watch games from the sideline because of injuries that cost him nine games. The quarterback was basically another coach during the game. Luck, according to Castonzo, voices his opinions with a little more force when warranted.

"I think that’s the biggest difference," Castonzo said. "In the past he’s been, 'we kind of need you to do this.' Now it’s like, 'This is where you need to be.' There’s no tip-toing around anything. He recognizes we have a goal and we want to get there. You can’t really be cautious how you talk to people. He’s a little bit more forceful."

Said receiver T.Y. Hilton: "Right now he is doing it all. He is talking and making sure guys are on the same page, and making sure guys are in the right spot."