The Indianapolis Colts on Sunday played their first game without Reggie Wayne in the lineup since the 2001 season. The All-Pro wide receiver tore his ACL in the fourth quarter of the team’s Week 7 win over the Denver Broncos and is out for the season.
Though Wayne did not fly with the team to Houston for its Week 9 game against the Texans, the Colts did what they could to keep him in mind. According to NBC’s Michele Tafoya, the Colts kept Wayne’s usual seat open on the plane ride to Houston. Team owner Jim Irsay also had Wayne give a speech at a team meeting on Saturday night. Additionally, the Colts had Wayne serve as an honorary captain before the game and call the coin toss.
Wayne hung out on the team’s sidelines for part of the game before heading into the locker room. Prior to suffering the season-ending injury, Wayne had 38 catches for 503 yards and two touchdowns.
Wayne went down with a non-contact injury after Luck threw short to him on a 3rd and 1 pass. The short pass caused Wayne to stop abruptly in an effort to come back and catch the ball. Wayne appeared to twist his knee in the process.
The team called the knee injury a sprain. Wayne looked like he was crying when showed by NBC walking into the tunnel.
In a postgame interview with NBC’s Michele Tafoya, Luck blamed himself for the injury.
“It was my fault. Terrible throw,” Luck said with disgust in his voice. “We know he’s a fighter and he’s our team leader, so it hurts when he’s not out here.”
Wayne had 5 catches for 50 yards prior to the injury. He has 38 catches for 503 yards and two touchdowns on the season and has been the team’s most consistent receiver. We’re expecting to learn that Wayne is out for the season. T.Y. Hilton will have to step up in his absence. I’d say that Coby Fleener and Darrius Heyward-Bey do too, but those guys both have so many problems with drops I know you can’t rely on them. This is a big loss for Indy.
Below is video of Luck’s interview with Tafoya:
Ray Lewis announced prior to the Baltimore Ravens’ playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts last weekend that he would be retiring, so most people enjoyed seeing him do his trademark dance one last time. One person who didn’t find it too amusing, though, was Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
Wayne found it disrespectful that Lewis did his typical pregame dance, and then came out to play in the victory formation where he did another celebratory dance following the Ravens’ last kneel down.
“I saw it as disrespectful,” Wayne said, via WNDE’s Jake Query. “They’d already had a tribute every quarter.”
We agree with Wayne. Doing the dance before the game is one thing, but it wasn’t at all sportsmanlike for Lewis to join the offense for the kneel down and then break out the dance another time. If Lewis is anything like the high-character guy he’s led us to believe he is, he should apologize for his actions.
In a journal entry posted on his website Wednesday, Wayne says he had four finalists and got down to three, then two.
“And you Colts fans don’t wanna know who other team was. I’ll let you figure that one out. Ha!,” Wayne wrote.
The Boston Globe confirmed that the other finalist was the Patriots.
The money Indy was offering Wayne was probably too good to turn down — three years for $17.5 million, including $7.5 mil guaranteed — and the Patriots likely were not offering as much. But it’s interesting that New England was pursuing Wayne given that he’s 33 and his skills may be declining. Apparently the Colts weren’t the only ones who still think he has some talent left.
With Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne now both on the market, there has been some talk of the duo shopping themselves as a package deal. Peyton probably won’t limit his options to teams that have interest in signing Reggie, but Wayne may do his best to follow Manning wherever he goes. In fact, it sounds like the former Colts receiver is already crossing his fingers that both can join the Dolphins.
“I can see it, and I’m definitely not opposed to it,” Wayne told WQAM’s The Michael Irvin Show Wednesday when asked about teaming up with Manning in Miami. “He’s a great worker. I consider myself a great worker, and when you put great workers together good things happen. Me being in his trail to Miami, I would definitely love it! I’m totally available. My phone is working…I’m ready for anything that comes! I definitely see that in the mix.”
While the free agent frenzy will certainly get crazier before things settle, the Dolphins are a definite front-runner to land Manning. His decision will likely take a while, but the stars are aligned for Peyton to end up in Miami next season — even if Dwyane Wade and LeBron James weren’t doing their best to recruit him. One thing that could prevent the Dolphins from landing Manning is if he believes they are more than a quarterback away from being a contender. At this point in his career, Peyton will almost certainly limit his suitors to those who can contend for a title.
As for Wayne, his best bet is to make sure Manning has him in his future plans. If a team thinks they can land Peyton and Peyton tells that team he wants Reggie to come along for the ride, Reggie will be there.
Reggie Wayne is 33 years old and a free agent. The Colts don’t seem interested in bringing him back considering his skills are declining and the organization is rebuilding. What’s surprising is that he’s interested in playing for their AFC rival.
Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinnest says he and Wayne had a conversation about the receiver joining New England.
“It came up in the conversation would he ever want to play for the Patriots,” McGinest said. “He smiled and said, ‘Who wouldn’t want to play there?’
I guess chalk that up to disliking your rival but respecting them too. Maybe Wayne wants to go to New England to stick it to Indy for not showing interest in him. Or maybe he just sees how consistently successful the Pats are and he wants to be a part of it. I bet it’s a little bit of both.
Helmet knock to Pro Football Talk
Five-time Pro Bowl receiver, including this season, Reggie Wayne caught just one pass for one yard in the Colts’ 17-16 Wild Card loss to the Jets on Saturday, and he’s not happy about it. The worst part is that he caught every ball thrown his way. That’s right, Wayne — who was second in the NFL this season with 111 receptions and third in receiving yards with 1355 — was targeted just one time.
“I shouldn’t have even suited up,” Wayne told The Indianapolis Star. “I should have watched the game like everybody else. I was irrelevant.” The fact that Wayne even said anything speaks to the magnitude of the issue. It’s out of character for him — or anyone else on that team, to vent any frustration publicly — especially when it could be perceived as being aimed at quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning’s performance has been questioned this season, but not from inside the organization.
An obvious reason why Wayne saw only one ball is because he was being covered by fellow-Pro Bowler, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, but that’s a ridiculous excuse. Wayne is too good and the game was too big for him to be targeted once. In contrast, Blair White and Jacob Tamme had eight catches each. I get the idea that Revis’ focus on Wayne opened up the field for those two, along with Pierre Garcon, but again, that’s an excuse.
When you’ve got a weapon like Wayne, you have to find a way to get him the ball. You move him around, run screens, whatever it takes. He’s going to get open. Instead, Manning essentially ignored one of the game’s premier receivers and the Colts’ season ended as a result. Wayne has every right to be frustrated and I bet Manning looks his way a little more next time. At least he should.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy