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Head fake theory: Could Andrew Luck be pulling an Eli Manning and choosing his own 2011 team?


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The interesting thing about Andrew Luck's decision to stay at Stanford is that he announced no such decision. Here is his statement, in full:

I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter of 2012,” he said.

This sentence, using the "and" conjunction, is really two independent statements:

  • Commitment: Luck is committed to earning his degree in architectural design from Stanford.
  • Observation: Luck is on track to earn his degree in spring quarter of 2012.

It "feels" like he said that he is committed to returning to Stanford and earning his degree in 2012. However, the statement said no such thing. The commitment is only to earn his degree from Stanford, with no time commitment. He could earn his degree a decade from now and still meet his commitment.

Why would he make such a curious statement? In my opinion: to keep his options open until the January 15 deadline to declare for the NFL draft.

During that time, intermediaries such as his father could be approaching preferred NFL franchises and signaling that Luck would declare for the draft if those franchises execute a trade for Carolina's pick. Maybe he wants to stay in the Bay area (to earn his degree from Stanford) and play for the 49ers. His father has already been quoted that the son would "enjoy" staying longer at Palo Alto. Or ... maybe he would like to play for Mike and Kyle Shanahan. :)

So, why not just say nothing until the deadline? Because making this statement accomplishes several things:

  • Knockout blow to Carolina. Direct rebuke of owner Richardson's determination to draft Luck.
  • Coded signal to other NFL teams. Reinforced through back channels.
  • Pressure on target team(s) to get deal done now with Carolina.
  • Heroic declaration of loyalty to Stanford and to his field.
  • Setup for Harbaugh to take NFL job and "change conditions."

Without committing anything, Luck leaves open the following power play:

  1. Harbaugh accepts NFL job in next week, which "changes the conditions" of Luck's intent to return to Stanford.
  2. Bonus option: 49ers are the team that hires Harbaugh.
  3. Target team approaches Carolina and makes offer for #1 pick. Carolina accepts.
  4. Luck gets permission from Stanford to continue taking classes toward his degree on a part-time basis.
  5. Luck declares for NFL draft before the deadline.

The power play is still a tall order, and the odds are probably against Luck pulling it off. But, in my opinion, the statement made by Luck is the first move toward putting that power play into action. The best fit has the 49ers as the target team, with this being a tag-team power play to get Harbaugh hired by the 49ers, followed by the draft pick trade and Luck declaring for the draft.

First, Luck get Harbaugh hired by the 49ers. Then, Harbaugh gets the trade executed and enables Luck to declare for the draft.

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I think you're reaching here. As much as I would love to land Luck, this scenario seems a little too much.

Does anyone know, if this were to go down, would there be grounds for tampering charges? I mean, it would be a clear circumventing of the drafting procedure, right?

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I heard from a friend of mine (who always seems to have inside info that is pretty right) that apparently his girlfriend and he are very close, and she weighed heavy into the decision because she wanted him to stay close @ Stanford one more year. It could make sense considering he's not exactly from a family where he's desperate to make the $ right away. I have NO proof of this statement, anyone else heard anything along the same lines?

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He said "It’s not a slight on Carolina at all", and by the way the Panthers are in such shambles that they will probably get the 1st overall pick next year.

That's kinda' my thinking that it can't be a Carolina thing, as he'll more than likely end up there next year. If it was, you'd make the most of a bad scenario, cut your loses and take the mega money this year. Kid genuinely wants to see out his college life. And I tip my hat to him for that.

Hail.

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A far more likely scenario - he's not being quite so definitive in order to give Harbaugh more bargaining power with Stanford. Harbaugh and Lucks' retention are inextricably linked. If Luck will stay as long as Harbaugh stays, harbaugh can squeeze a few more bucks out of the school's coffers.

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A far more likely scenario - he's not being quite so definitive in order to give Harbaugh more bargaining power with Stanford. Harbaugh and Lucks' retention are inextricably linked. If Luck will stay as long as Harbaugh stays, harbaugh can squeeze a few more bucks out of the school's coffers.

Bingo. I have a feeling Harbaugh is just trying to get a big contract at Stanford. But, I could also see him going to San Fran because I think that team is stacked with talent and could be very competitive in that horrible division right away.

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I heard from a friend of mine (who always seems to have inside info that is pretty right) that apparently his girlfriend and he are very close, and she weighed heavy into the decision because she wanted him to stay close @ Stanford one more year. It could make sense considering he's not exactly from a family where he's desperate to make the $ right away. I have NO proof of this statement, anyone else heard anything along the same lines?

In the poker game of life, women are the rake man. They are the ****in' rake.

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I heard from a friend of mine (who always seems to have inside info that is pretty right) that apparently his girlfriend and he are very close, and she weighed heavy into the decision because she wanted him to stay close @ Stanford one more year. It could make sense considering he's not exactly from a family where he's desperate to make the $ right away. I have NO proof of this statement, anyone else heard anything along the same lines?

That wouldn't surprise me at all. I also wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to try and win a BCS Championship before going pro too.

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I don't personally understand why Luck wants to go back. How do you walk away from 30-50 million (depending on rookie wage scale rules)? I'd tell Stanford to take their degree and shove it. But that's me. I don't think he's doing the right thing going back to Stanford.

HOWEVER!!! If he's truly committed to getting a degree, then I can understand (somewhat). He's majoring in Architectural Engineering. I happen to have a degree in Architectural Engineering myself. Many players who leave early have majors (Criminal Justice, Communications, etc.) that will allow them to finish those degrees after football relatively easily. They can just enroll again and pick up where they left off. Engineering is a different animal. You can't just enroll again 10 years later and pick up where you left off. There's too much. WAY too much. You don't just put down your Calculus Books, Fluid Mechanics Books, Thermodynamics Books, etc. and pick them up 10 years later. Certainly not if you've been concentrating on Football for a decade and not even thinking about engineering. You'd have to relearn all that stuff. It'd be a complete pain in the butt. So don't think that this reality doesn't factor into Luck's thinking, if he really wants that degree.

Again, I completely disagree with his decision but I do have first hand knowledge of his academic workload. It's not easy. If I were him, though, I'd take my Fluid Mechanics Book and throw it our the window of the helicopter I was riding on my way to sign my fat new 50 million dollar contract.

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I don't personally understand why Luck wants to go back. How do you walk away from 30-50 million (depending on rookie wage scale rules)? I'd tell Stanford to take their degree and shove it. But that's me. I don't think he's doing the right thing going back to Stanford.

HOWEVER!!! If he's truly committed to getting a degree, then I can understand (somewhat). He's majoring in Architectural Engineering. I happen to have a degree in Architectural Engineering myself. Many players who leave early have majors (Criminal Justice, Communications, etc.) that will allow them to finish those degrees after football relatively easily. They can just enroll again and pick up where they left off. Engineering is a different animal. You can't just enroll again 10 years later and pick up where you left off. There's too much. WAY too much. You don't just put down your Calculus Books, Fluid Mechanics Books, Thermodynamics Books, etc. and pick them up 10 years later. Certainly not if you've been concentrating on Football for a decade and not even thinking about engineering. You'd have to relearn all that stuff. It'd be a complete pain in the butt. So don't think that this reality doesn't factor into Luck's thinking, if he really wants that degree.

Again, I completely disagree with his decision but I do have first hand knowledge of his academic workload. It's not easy. If I were him, though, I'd take my Fluid Mechanics Book and throw it our the window of the helicopter I was riding on my way to sign my fat new 50 million dollar contract.

Hmmm... Very interesting take on the situation that I had not considered. This makes a lot of sense. I, too, would throw my textbooks out the window, though they would likely be "Welcome to Odd Numbers" or something of the sort. :)

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Don't hate on those pursuing the Architect Engineering degrees. In 2014 the World well the USA (same thing) will be singing praises of an Architect's greatest work near Ground Zero with the new Towers and Train Station.

Can you imagine if Harbaugh did sign with the 49ers and traded two 1sts, etc to Carolina for Luck instead of the Panthers going thru the I'm not going to sign with you guys so you better trade me or else drama that Elway and Eli pulled on teams they didn't like having their rights?

It would benefit all parties involved since yeah the Panthers are going to suck in 2011 too and have a chance at another Franchise QB. or Clausen could develop into a serviceable QB like Grossman :rolleyes::D

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How did this guy get into Stanford? Passing up 50 mil doesn't sound very smart to me. If the girlfriend is the problem, she can drop out too and get her degree later. Also, if there's a lockout, he could be on an NFL roster and still go to Stanford since there won't be any football in the NFL. He could be getting paid 50 mil to take classes at Stanford and not play football.

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You may be right in the long run but I still find it amusing the way we parse every word, every letter, every possible nuance to try and eke out meaning from the tea leaves.

Well you see, some of us here are professionals at that. And then there's Jason Reid. :)

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I heard from a friend of mine (who always seems to have inside info that is pretty right) that apparently his girlfriend and he are very close, and she weighed heavy into the decision because she wanted him to stay close @ Stanford one more year. It could make sense considering he's not exactly from a family where he's desperate to make the $ right away. I have NO proof of this statement, anyone else heard anything along the same lines?

Ah, so my boy Luck is ***** whipped lol . A lot here in Carolina thinks Jerry Richardson's press conference had a lot to do with Luck's decision. Richardson pretty much said that he wasn't optimistic about a deal between the owners and players being reached and started drawing Ross Perot type charts at the 5:52 mark lol.

http://www.panthers.com/media-vault/videos/Front-Office-Press-Conference/79ee84d5-981c-4429-a407-873e6f1ae2bf

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