FOXBORO -- It's hard to believe Andrew Luck is a rookie. Especially for Tom Brady.
By now, we all know how Brady describes his rookie season.
"I was like fourth-string and eating nachos before the game in the stands," he said after Thursday's practice, when asked about Luck's first NFL season.
It's a recycled line that Brady has used when comparing his rookie season to another's.
But it's true. Compared to what Luck has done this year -- 10 passing touchdowns, 5 rushing touchdowns, and 2,631 yards in the air -- Brady might as well have been eating nachos in the stands. But that was because Brady only appeared in one game during his rookie season in 2000-01. He went 1-for-3 for six yards.
Brady didn't want to get into comparing a potential rivalry with Andrew Luck to his former Indianapolis Colts rivalry with Peyton Manning, on Thursday.
"My focus has been on what that defense does," said Brady when asked about the old rivalry with Manning. "Its always the Colts defense and its always centered around two players and those two guys are still there. Thats really the challenge for us this week, is trying to figure out how to block that entire front. There are a lot of different looks from the last time we played them, trying to understand the scheme and how theyre doing things but theyre good and they really rush the passer and thats a big challenge."
But as much as Brady would like to end the "Colts rivalry" talk, there's no hiding from reality. And that reality is that Manning is now in Denver. And his replacement has already left his impression on the league.
So Brady did spend a few moments, on Thursday, reminiscing about the first time he met Manning. It was Brady's second season, and just his first full season, in 2001-02.
By that point in time, Manning was already a two-time Pro Bowler, and had been to the playoffs twice in his fourth full season.
Manning, the veteran. Meet Brady, the new guy.
"Yeah, I remember I was out there warming up for the game and he came over and he said, Hey Tom, Im Peyton,' " recalled Brady.
But Brady hinted towards not making such a gesture before the two teams play on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
"I dont know," said Brady. "Well see. Usually I dont go out to the field too early anymore. I tend to just keep to myself."
So while Luck probably shouldn't expect the same treatment that Manning gave Brady back in 2001, the Colts' rookie quarterback should still realize that the Patriots' veteran quarterback respects the success he's having this early in his career.
"I always admire those rookies who can do it because it is such a challenge, whether youre a defensive end like Chandler Jones, or Donta Hightower or Andrew Luck or any of these rookies who really play a big role for a certain team," said Brady. "Its a real credit to them and their ability to transition and focus on all these new things that have really come about and go out there and play well.
"I had quite a few -- 18 months -- to develop camaraderie with the guys that I played with, and it was a lot of time and practice and extra coaching sessions and so forth. For those rookies, coming right from college to this position, is very challenging."