At the beginning of their 2013 campaign, the Colts had two above average receivers on their roster, TY Hilton and Reggie Wayne.
Wayne’s season was cut short in the middle of last year’s playoff run due to a knee injury. Any football player who has had this injury will tell you that it takes two years to bounce back from an ACL tear. By the time he comes back to one hundred percent, Reggie will be 37 years old. Will he be able to out run defensive backs who were in still grade school when Reggie turned pro? Justin Gilbert just turned in a 4.35 second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine which was the fast the cornerback out of Oklahoma State was just 10 years old when Reggie Wayne was drafted by the Colts in 2001. Does Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson think that Reggie Wayne will be able to get past Gilbert, or any other of the talented cornerbacks that are coming into the league?
When he takes the field next this September, will he will be seen as a decoy? TY Hilton turned in great numbers last season and appears to have a promising career ahead. The problem was that the Colts’ opponents knew that he was Andrew Luck’s primary target and they were able to take him out of games and turn the Colts into a one dimensional offense. Since the Colts relied on Donald Brown and Trent Richardson from the backfield to make up the difference, they were unable to get over the hump when it came to the playoffs in January. They were very lucky to make it to the divisional round and relied upon several mistakes from Kansas City to make it that far.
Coach Chuck Pagano has consistently stated; “You can’t put a price tag on Reggie Wayne.” Monday, October 13th, 2013, after the lethal Sunday game against the Denver Broncos where Reggie took the hit, “We hate to lose anybody, but this one stings, you just don’t replace guys like #87. But he’ll be back. I know how he’s wired, what his DNA is, and how he is as a man. Everybody’s gonna say, ‘No way,’ but after the conversation I just had with him just wait and see. We’ll all put on the gloves for Reggie, and we’ll help him get through this.”
Most people thought Wayne would be amongst the scrap heap that had an eventful fate for the franchise fire sale that took place after owner Jim Irsay released Peyton Manning in 2011. However, under offensive coordinators Bruce Arians and Pep Hamilton in the last two years, Wayne reinvented himself to become one of the most valuable receivers in the game. He blocked inline at a superlative level when asked to do so, expanded his game to embrace Arians’ more complex route concepts and provided valuable veteran leadership for Luck and a variety of other youthful players as the Colts surprised the NFL with an 11-5 record in 2012.
It’s a great thing most people are wrong! Running back Vick Ballard who also is recovering from a torn ACL told ESPN’s Mike Wells about how Reggie Wayne is motivating him to return from his injury. Ballard quoted; “Reggie, he comes here and stays all day, gets two or three rounds of rehab in,” said Ballard, who is 12 years younger than Wayne. “Once I saw him do it, I was like, ‘Hell, why can’t I do it, too?’ When I leave here, I go home and sit on the couch, so it definitely changed my perspective on it.”
Ballard is referring to the progress and effort that Reggie Wayne is showing in the gym. He’s way ahead of schedule in the rehab department. He has also been spending a lot of time in meetings, mentoring and tutoring the young group of wide receivers.
Point blank stating from where it started you can’t put a price tag on Reggie Wayne what he did, does and is going to continue to do. He’s not going anywhere and his success is going to continue on the field as well as off this upcoming season!