Andrew Luck made one thing clear this week.
He doesn’t regard Sunday’s game at Reliant Stadium with the Houston Texans as a chance to go back to his home town and talk about old times.
It’s all about taking care of business for Luck, who attended Stratford High School in Houston. His father, Oliver Luck, was a former backup quarterback for the Houston Oilers.
“My folks don’t live down there anymore but my grandparents live there. My mom’s family is from Houston so I’ve got a lot of cousins, aunts, uncles that live down there. [But] it’s a football game,” Luck voiced.
“We are there for less than 48 hours and I go back in the off season. I’ve been back to see family, so I’m not trying to cram too many visits in.”
The Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback is more concerned about facing an 11-2 Texans team that is on the verge of capturing a second straight AFC South title.
Indianapolis, meanwhile, is on the cusp of earning a berth in the AFC playoffs as a wild-card participant.
The Colts still have an outside shot of winning the division crown if they were to win their final three regular-season games.
“[Sunday’s game is] a chance to solidify a playoff spot. Obviously the division is not sewn up completely from what I understand,” Luck said.
“And [the game is] against, from our perspective, one of the premier teams in the AFC. We are going to have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
That being said, being back in Houston with the Colts is sure to bring back a lot of memories. Luck said that he was an Oilers fan growing up — since his dad played for the team — but that loyalty as a fan didn’t automatically go to the Texans when that franchise began in 2002.
“We tried to go a couple of times a year [for games]. I know they tried to reach out to the former Oilers who lived in the area so my dad would go a couple of times a year and bring me along,” Luck recalled. “You grow up a fan. Not a fervent fan I’d say. I was an Oilers guy and I guess it’s hard when they moved to Tennessee. Loved the stadium. I was very impressed by the organization.”
He hasn’t played a game at Reliant Stadium since his junior year of high school during the state playoffs.
“We lost in the third round of the playoffs, so not a lot of good memories there,” Luck said.
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n High on McAfee — Interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has high praise for punter Pat McAfee, who may be having the best season of his four-year NFL career. He is averaging 48.8 yards on 56 punts with 18 downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
“He’s done it over and over this year. We’ve got some turnovers out of it for big plays. He’s a Pro Bowler. I don’t know if he’ll get voted in but he’s a Pro Bowler,” Arians said.
“He’s always been a boomer but to be able to boom it and directionally kick it, that is a great, tough job. He’s handling it and getting better and better at it.”
n Arians not into all stats — The veteran Colts assistant coach doesn’t get all caught up in the various quarterback rankings, especially as it pertains to Luck.
“I really don’t get caught up in that one. I look at his last two games and in the red zone. He’s 100 percent in the red zone, five-for-five. His third-down efficiency in the last seven or eight weeks, he’s been outstanding,” he said.
“So situational football is where quarterbacks win games more than anything else.”
n Little Edge — Arians has been a big booster of rookie running back Vick Ballard ever since the former Mississippi State standout participated in his first practice with the Colts. That hasn’t changed.
Ballard leads the team in rushing with 562 yards on 146 carries and has rushed for one TD this season.
“He’s powerful. He’s a poor man’s Edge [Edgerrin James]. He’s bowlegged like Edge and he’s about the same size and tough to bring down,” the veteran assistant said.
“He’s quick, he’s elusive, doesn’t have the great, great speed but he can make the first guy miss and he’s going to make a lot of yards because he makes people miss. He’s got a great future. [He has to] stay healthy.”
n Injury list — Sitting out Thursday’s practice were running back Delone Carter (ankle), inside linebacker Kavell Conner (hamstring), offensive tackle Winston Justice (biceps), center Samson Satele (ankle) and safety Tom Zbikowski (knee).
Wide receiver Donnie Avery (ribs) returned for full work after seeing limited practice on Wednesday. Tight end Coby Fleener (ankle), outside linebacker Dwight Freeney (rest), quarterback Andrew Luck (knee), and offensive guard Joe Reitz (head) all saw full practice.
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis was given the day off to rest old injuries.
Andrew Luck made one thing clear this week.
Colts keep Vinatieri, Davis, Bradshaw in fold
With the NFL’s free-agency signing period getting underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday, it was fairly certain that the Indianapolis Colts would be active participants.
The Colts went into free agency with around $40 million of salary cap space in their back pocket. Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson, however, had indicated at the National Football Scouting Combine that he wanted to be judicious in how the team spent its money.
Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.
Colts excited to add talent, experience of D'Qwell Jackson
With the National Football League's veteran free agency period set to start on March 11, the Indianapolis Colts front office has started to make the decisions needed to retool for the 2014 season.
Former Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had been released by Cleveland on Feb. 26, signed a reported four-year, $22 million deal with Indianapolis on Thursday. Only the first two years of the contract are guaranteed.
Jackson (6-foot, 240) started 96-of-97 games over the past eight seasons with the Browns since being selected by the team in the second round of the 2006 draft. He played collegiately at Maryland.
EIU’s Garoppolo hopes to impress scouts
Let the Eastern Illinois University quarterback tradition continue.
Mike Shanahan, Jeff Christensen, Sean Payton, Tony Romo and, now, Jimmy Garoppolo. All were record-setting quarterbacks on the Division II and FCS levels.
Grigson says Colts likely not to make big splash in free agency
Don’t expect the Indianapolis Colts to go wild in the upcoming free-agent market.
While the Colts will have anywhere from $33 to $37 million to spend this offseason, Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson says the franchise will be a bit more selective when it comes to signing any prospective veteran free agents.
SEASON IN REVIEW: Colts make progress in 2013 season
The Indianapolis Colts made plenty of progress over the course of the 2013 season.
And the Colts fought through some adversity as injuries hit the team hard at several positions, most notably at wide receiver (Reggie Wayne), tight end (Dwayne Allen), running back (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw), offensive line (Donald Thomas) and cornerback (Greg Toler).
Moving on: Coach likes what he sees, gets ready for phase three of Colts’ development
Time to move on. In the wake of the Indianapolis Colts’ 43-22 AFC divisional playoff loss at New England last Saturday night, head coach Chuck Pagano is ready to take time off and then start getting after it again late this spring.
Blunt force trauma: Patriots running game too much for Colts
LeGarrette Blount ran the New England Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 Sunday night.
‘Still the same Tom’
How do you attempt to stop, or even slow down, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?
Belichick impressed with Luck's skills, poise under pressure
Bill Belichick doesn’t have to be reminded about the talents of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Although Belichick’s New England Patriots handed the Colts a 59-24 loss in Foxboro last year, he came away from the game with plenty of respect for the young signal caller.
Colts, Patriots, both with many new faces, to meet in playoffs for fourth time
Here we go again. Yet another Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots playoff game.
Up next for Colts: Brady, Patriots
Hello Tom Brady.
Thanks to the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 AFC wild-card playoff win over Cincinnati on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts will be traveling to Foxboro, Massachusetts to face Brady’s New England Patriots Saturday (8:15 p.m.).
Luck leads huge rally as Colts grab first playoff win for Pagano
What a game.
Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Colts were going to be blown out at home in an AFC wild-card playoff game by the Kansas City Chiefs, the impossible happened.
Colts sell out today's Kansas City game
There will be no local television blackouts in the NFL this weekend.
The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers said Friday that their weekend wild-card playoff games are sellouts. Normally, teams must sell out 72 hours before kickoff to have a game broadcast in their local market. The NFL gave the Colts, Bengals and Packers an extra day to do it.
The Colts host Kansas City today. On Sunday, the Packers host San Francisco and the Bengals host San Diego.
NFL honors Colts' Mathis with Deacon Jones Award
Robert Mathis never got to see Deacon Jones take down opposing quarterbacks in person.
He learned to appreciate Jones’ creativity over time.
The Colts Pro Bowl linebacker and newly crowned sacks champion was honored Thursday as the inaugural winner of the NFL’s Deacon Jones Award, which goes to the league’s sacks leader. Mathis will be recognized at the NFL award banquet Feb. 1.
Victory over Chiefs means nil, Mathis says
Robert Mathis doesn’t care that the Indianapolis Colts registered a 23-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago.
Record-setting Indy win
Finish the National Football League regular season strong. That’s what the Indianapolis Colts wanted to accomplish Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In major gain, Colts lead NFL in fewest turnovers
Play clean. That’s been a credo that the Indianapolis Colts have tried to live by this season.
Has Luck's growth been accelerated by Colts' adversity? Probably
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Toeing the line: Colts’ offensive line getting healthy, finding niche as playoffs near
The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line has certainly taken its share of hits this season, both on and off the field.
Colts’ chief strength: No panic
The Indianapolis Colts had watched the Kansas City Chiefs march downfield for an easy score on the first series of the game, yet nobody on their sideline seemed to be worried.
In fact, it seemed as if their confidence soared.
Luck has knack for knowing when to run
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Loss at Chiefs could cost Colts bye in playoffs
Chuck Pagano doesn’t have to make his Indianapolis Colts players aware of the playoff implications surrounding the team’s road game at Kansas City on Sunday.
Back in the mix: Colts are hoping to improve their playoff seeding in final two weeks of NFL’s regular season
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stresses that he is not a scoreboard watcher when it comes to other National Football League games.
Back in stride: Colts finally put points on board early, roll to ninth victory of season
It had been a long time in coming, a National Football League game in which the Indianapolis Colts had a comfortable lead well into the second half.
Whalen, Richardson make waves on offense
It’s not too hard to figure out who the offensive and defensive players of the game were in the Indianapolis Colts’ 25-3 win over Houston Sunday.
Mathis, Colts hoping to gain defensive momentum against Texans
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis, one of the Indianapolis Colts two most vested veterans, has taken it upon himself to make sure his team is ready for Sunday’s AFC South matchup with Houston (1 p.m., CBS Sports).
Mathis and injured wide receiver Reggie Wayne have been with the Colts the longest. They, along with defensive end Cory Redding and safety Antoine Bethea, have become important voices in the Indianapolis locker room.
Colts not apologizing for way they won division title
Backing into the AFC South title? The Indianapolis Colts are not apologizing to anyone for claiming the franchise’s eighth division crown since the start of the 2002 season.
Bungles — including refs’ — benefit Bengals
Give the Cincinnati Bengals plenty of credit. In a game that pitted two of the AFC’s better teams and two of the National Football League’s best young quarterbacks, the home-standing Bengals took care of business.
Many doubt Cincy runner scored on goal-line play
Did he make it or didn’t he?
Was Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis stopped on fourth down short of the end zone or did he make to the end zone without being touched?
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- Colts keep Vinatieri, Davis, Bradshaw in fold