Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is viewed as one of the NFL's best young players and a great role model for children. As it turns out, his trash-talking is something that parents would be OK with their kids hearing.
Defensive players are used to hearing the likes of Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens and Steve Smith talking smack all game. While those players say whatever they can to get inside their opponent's head, Luck apparently brings a unique brand of politeness to the table, as Kevin Clark of The Wall Street Journal discovered.
His father, Oliver Luck, himself a former NFL quarterback, told Clark that he raised Andrew to respect others, and he has apparently taken that to heart. Even in the heat of the moment on the field, he is willing to congratulate his opponent for making a play.
Several NFL defensive players discussed Luck's "trash talk" with Clark and how it can work to his advantage.
"In all the years I've played football I have never heard anything like it," Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. "Nothing even close."
Here's a great clip that shows Luck praising Baltimore Ravens defensive star Terrell Suggs:
What do you say to that?
Luck's approach to "trash-talking" can really lead to some confusion on the field. Players don't expect to hear opponents praise them for making a good play, so when it happens, they can be at a loss for words.
"You want to say thank you, but then you say 'Wait a second—I'm not supposed to like you!'" Kerrigan said.
The New England Patriots' Rob Ninkovich also found himself in a weird spot earlier this season, per Clark:
When New England pass rusher Rob Ninkovich pulverized Luck last month in a Patriots' 42-20 win, he got the customary congratulations. As Ninkovich tells it, he found himself paralyzed with confusion by the well-wishes, so he blurted out "Thanks for...uh...accepting that hit?" before running back to the huddle.
There's not much else you can say besides that. Ninkovich and Kerrigan probably aren't alone in this odd battle, because it doesn't sound like anyone else has figured out how to respond to the third-year quarterback just yet.
The 25-year-old's ability to use compliments can get inside a defender's head can actually be a game-changer. Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Nolan Carroll explained how Luck's kind words can impact a game.
"You know if you hear a quarterback get mad, you are in his head," Carroll said. "With Luck, you thought you hurt the guy, you hear 'good job' and you just say 'aw, man.'"
There are some players who thrive on the ability to get inside an opponent's head and then dominate him. Luck has found a way to neutralize those players by just handing out compliments.
Luck seems like a good guy, so he is probably very genuine when he praises opponents during games. However, he also went to Stanford. That means he is smart enough to know this kind of trash talk can mess with a defender's head, which can give his team an edge.
The only thing that matters in the NFL is winning, so Luck probably makes sure to use his manners every chance he gets during games.