Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic host a nationally syndicated ESPN radio show every day from 6:00 AM - 10:00 ET. This morning, Greenberg and former NFL coach Herm Edwards discussed a rumor that there is a “general sense” from people around the league that Andrew Luck might want be seeking his way out of Indianapolis.
Transcript of relevant rumor pandering:
I’m not sure if I wanna use the word ‘rumor,’ there is sort of a general sense that you hear from people around the league, if you talk to people who cover the sport of football right now, that there is an ever-widening gap between Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. That his unhappiness, and perhaps some familial unhappiness if you will, stems back beyond this... that perhaps he played when he was 100% healthy. He is not playing now and that there is some talk that even with that enormous contract and his enormous talent that we could be seeing right before our eyes the end of the Andrew Luck era in Indianapolis.
Guys, I am assuming you have heard that too because everybody is talking about it. What is your sense Herman?
Well, that might be the sense. There has been some conversation of that sort. I actually did the game, Colts and Rams this weekend and ooh... and the Rams are a lot better than people anticipate. McVay has done a nice job, the defense played marvelous, and the quarterback played good for the Rams by the way, you know. But the Colts are a team right now, they’re struggling.
Visiting with some of the guys on the field before the game you could almost tell, you know, ‘we don’t know how this is going to turnout today.’ They were hoping but Tolzien turned the ball over too many times and all of the sudden it got away from them.
But the Andrew Luck situation is interesting because, if he truly feels this way it probably wouldn’t be as sticky right now, the fact that he signed that big deal than if he didn’t sign it, right? He has basically got an out. They have his rights, he signed a contract now. They have got to want to do something and if they decide to get him out of there or move him out, what are they asking for? How many first round picks can you get?
I think a couple of things happen with this organization, first of all we have to have a conversation with Andrew Luck and his Dad, if this is really true of where they are headed as an organization going forward. And then, if that’s the case, I think they’re even more reluctant to play him until he is really really ready. With this conversation going on. Because if you are Andrew Luck, you’re looking at your future and if you’re this organization, he is your franchise quarterback.
With that being said, I don’t know where he is at with his shoulder as far as throwing the ball. I am not there every day, only they know but I said this in the beginning. When he had surgery, I said that he’s not going to be ready. This is something like Chad’s deal. And then if he is ready, the problem they are going to have is this. If they play him, okay, maybe he plays three games and the fourth game he comes in there and the trainer says, ‘Hey coach, guess what? He can’t throw today,’ on Wednesday. ‘He won’t be able to throw until Friday.’ This is a year. It is going to take this guy a year.
So I don’t know where he is at, they know better than I do. If they keep losing, do they just keep him over there and say hey, you know, just wait it out or do they try to bring him back and rescue the organization. I don’t know.
Naturally, this sent Colts nation into a frenzy and the local media personalities engaged quickly to look into these rumors. The good news for Colts fans is that, there is nothing to them. Bob Kravitz spoke with Luck’s agent, Will Wilson who said:
Quite simply and succinctly, there's no truth to that comment at all. Andrew did a long-term deal and he did it for a reason: He wants to be with the Colts and he's committed to the Colts. It's as simple as that. He looks forward to the opportunity to play when he's ready. He wants to get out there when he's ready, obviously. He's just going through rehab; it's the process he's going through.
ESPN also later got confirmation from Wilson:
Any rumor/speculation about Andrew being disgruntled with the Colts or wanting a trade is simply not true.
So, what gives? Why would Mike and Mike, who represent a large media organization and who get paid handsomely to cover the NFL, stir the pot without any foundation to what they were saying? Mike Greenberg clarified his comments later in the day on Dan Dakich’s radio program:
We can speculate, and that's what I did on the air this morning, and I realize I said it more definitively than I should have, in retrospect. When I realize now how many people are taking what I said as though I was reporting 'Andrew Luck wants to be traded,' I felt that it's very important that I clear that up. That if that's the way that came out, that's not in any way the way I intended it.
What I intended to say was that I'm hearing people talking about Luck being unhappy with the direction of the franchise and speculating that it could get so bad that it might take that next step. And the agent categorically denied it. Those are the facts.
Look, we’re not buying it. Mike Greenberg has been in the business for far too long to play games like that and then pretend that outside of some random notion than he spoke “more definitively than he should have” he was only “speculating.” He focused a whole chunk of his segment on very specific rumors that we are watching the end of the Luck era in Indianapolis, that “everybody is talking about it,” that “there is an ever-widening gap between Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.”
Then Edwards played right back at it suggesting that the Colts need to, “have a conversation with Andrew Luck and his dad.”
Putting it all together, Greenberg and Edwards gave the clear impression that there was some foundation to what they were saying. If it was purely speculative, if it was just rumors between reporters over drinks at the local pub after the game, they could have presented the story as only that.
He could have easily said, “look, we’ve certainly not heard anything to support this idea to this point, but there are more and more people starting to get the idea that the circumstances in Indianapolis could drive a rift between Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Herm, your thoughts?”
See? It isn’t hard. You make it clear that this is based upon conjecture alone and not on something more.
“Everybody is talking about it”... “familial unhappiness”... “I am assuming you have heard that too”... it gives you the idea that there’s some foundation there. Greenberg knew that, he said to drive intrigue and sell the segment, and he took a blow to his credibility in the process.
Don’t worry though, he’s still free to speculate. It’s just that now there will be fewer people listening to him.