INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck is measured and polished and — publicly, anyway — intentionally dull.
But did you know the Indianapolis Colts quarterback is also intense, fiery and, when necessary, profane? You didn't because you've never been in the huddle with him.
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Those who have see another side of Luck. The side willing to get in your face, the side that demands nothing less than perfection and the side that runs completely counter to Luck's public image that even teammates admit is a bit, well, "nerdy."
"You look at him, and you wouldn't think some of that stuff could come out of his mouth," receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said. "I don't know if I can repeat some of it."
Receiver Reggie Wayne added: "Everybody thinks he's low-key, which he is. But once he's in front of his teammates, really, he's an animal."
A quick survey of Luck's offensive teammates helped paint an unexpected picture of the Stanford engineering graduate with a vocabulary that consists of a considerable number of four-syllable words.
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Check out Heyward-Bey's, um, vivid example.
"It was toward the end of training camp and we were working on a move-the-ball drill," he said. "We were running the no-huddle, and (receiver) Nate Palmer went the wrong way. Andrew saw it. He was like, 'Hey! Get your a-- over here!'
"Immediately, I was like, 'OK! I like this quarterback!' It's moments like that where you just know. That was a moment where he needed everyone to be accountable and he got him straight. You want that out of your quarterback. It's like tough love."
The job of an NFL quarterback calls for not only superior physical skills such as the requisite big arm, a quick release and good size. It also helps if you know how to convince 10 other large men to follow your every command, helping them rise to the occasion when the pressure is inevitably dialed up.
Sometimes, that calls for Luck to exert his authority a bit. Just ask center Samson Satele.
"He's called me out before," Satele said of Luck. "I was in the huddle talking to myself (about the previous play). He comes in and says, 'Hey! Be quiet!' It was like he was saying, 'I'm in the huddle now!' He wants all your attention all the time."
Tackle Gosder Cherilus was on the other end of a Luck lecture last Sunday against Jacksonville. While going toe to toe with Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin after a late hit personal foul against Luck, Cherilus felt Luck grab him from behind.
"I was talking smack to the guy and (Luck) said, 'Hey! We need you. Get back over here.' I'm glad he did it," Cherilus said.
Luck doesn't play favorites. Everyone must be accountable, even a 13-year veteran such as Wayne.
During the offseason, as the Colts were first implementing their offense — the one Luck played in at Stanford — there were some rough moments even for players of Wayne's experience.
"We all have our times where we screw up," Wayne said. "He's gotten on me before, where maybe I'm lining up on the wrong side. When this offense first got (installed), he was the only one that knew it. I said, 'Hey, man. You know the offense. We're still learning it.' But you want that from your quarterback, for him to take charge and keep everybody in place."
Teammates know Luck is doing all this in the pursuit of winning. But it also helps that Luck has integrated so seamlessly with his teammates in his season-plus with the team. He pokes fun at others, and he takes it well when the joke's on him.
His ability to blend in despite his status as one of the league's elite quarterbacks has endeared him to his teammates, making it more palatable to accept his constructive criticism.
"We all do our jobs because we're professionals and we take pride in what we do," left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. "But at the same time, when the game is on the line, you're blocking not only because of your profession but also for the fact that the quarterback is one of your buddies."
Cherilus added: "For someone who plays his position, he does a really, really good job of being one of the guys."
But in pressure situations, when games are being won and lost, Luck takes his intensity to a new level.
"You live for high-pressure situations and hope you can perform in them," he said. "That can be the biggest litmus test of whether you're doing your job well or not and whether you'll have success or not."
At those moments, Luck's voice rises, his eyes grow wider and you sense something big is about to happen.
"That's where the fire really comes out," Wayne said. "He's just telling us we don't have time for mess-ups right now. He really puts his foot down."
On Dec. 2, 2012, the Colts trailed the Lions 33-28 in the fourth quarter with less than two minutes to play. Luck came into the huddle and made a matter-of-fact statement.
"Hey, let's do this," were his words, according to Castonzo. The Colts went on to drive 75 yards in 1:07, winning the game with a touchdown pass from Luck to Donnie Avery on the game's final play.
"He came into the huddle," Castonzo said, "and there was no question that we were going to score."
Perhaps it's no surprise Luck has notched eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in just 20 games as a pro. Unshaken by the most nerve-racking of situations, and unwilling to allow even the slightest mistakes to go unchecked, Luck's presence is among his most important attributes.
And his impact on others is no small factor, either.
"It really gets me fired up," Wayne said. "And it's funny, because if you look at him, he's probably the youngest guy in the huddle. But it really gets us going. It really excites me to sit back and watch him work."