Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne was lost for the season in 2013 after tearing his ACL in a Sunday night football matchup against the Denver Broncos. With Wayne looking to make a comeback in 2014, his presence alone will be what helps refuel a Colts receiving corps that definitely was exposed once the six-time Pro-Bowler went down.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton did step up to prove that he could be a formidable receiver for quarterback Andrew Luck for years to come. However, once defenses were able to contain Hilton from exploding, the Colts’ offense struggled. With Wayne recovering nicely and looking to be on pace for the start of training camp, the Colts’ offense will look to get back to their “Coltstrong” ways.
Wayne has been the leader for the Colts ever since they decided to part ways with Peyton Manning. The year they released Manning and other big name players like linebacker Gary Brackett and tight end Dallas Clark, Wayne looked to be the next to go and even asked to be released. When the Colts hired head coach Chuck Pagano, he was the one to convince Wayne to stay.
Wayne decided to stay to help be the weapon Luck needed to jump start his career which is exactly what the young quarterback needed his rookie year. Asking Luck to try to carry a team full of rookies and young players would been too much for him during his rookie year, and Wayne’s stats show how he was able to carry the load for the receiving bunch in 2012.
Wayne finished with 106 receptions for 1,355 yards in 2012 on a career high 194 targets. Former Colts wide receiver and now Kansas City Chief Donnie Avery was second in receptions with a total of 60. Luck and Wayne have built a connection that was once there between Manning and Wayne back in the day. Luck has a tendency to look for Wayne in dire situations when a play breaks down and the option to run isn’t there.
Wayne’s presence on the field will be able to open up big plays for Hilton and newly signed former New York Giant receiver Hakeem Nicks. Wayne is still one of the best route runners in the game today and has great hands and has shown why he has been Luck’s security blanket for his first two seasons.
When the Colts looked like a team in rebuilding mode, Wayne said it best:
“We weren’t rebuilding, we were reloading.”