Reggie Wayne has had many heartfelt talks with Indianapolis Colts teammates in his 13 accomplished seasons in the NFL. But never had he given one under these circumstances. Unable to help his teammates on the field because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, Wayne got approval to travel one week after surgery and surprised the team at its Houston-area hotel, delivering an inspiring message to the team Saturday night. It was “about making each play like it’s your last one,” Wayne said Sunday night at Reliant Stadium, moments after leading the team’s remaining receivers out of the tunnel for pre-game warm-ups. “Don’t take nothing for granted. At any given moment, it could be your last one in your first year or 13th year. Just go out there and on each play, give it everything you’ve got. That, basically, was my message. It wasn’t a rah-rah speech. It was a get-your-mind-right speech.” He also represented the team for the coin toss. Wayne told no one but coach Chuck Pagano of his intentions. That made his presence all the more powerful. He spent time Saturday night and Sunday speaking with the younger receivers and came away with a clear impression, especially after watching the week’s practices on film from Miami. “They had a great week of practice, Wayne said. “They’re ready to show what they can do. It sucks for me, but at the same time, I’m excited for those guys so they can display what they can do.” Wayne has spent the past two weeks coming to terms with his situation. He’s on injured reserve for the first time and missed a game for the first time in 12 seasons. It’s a lot to get one’s mind around. Wayne was getting used to his new reality, but then game day arrived. “I was cool until the damn bus ride,” he joked. “Once I got to the stadium and saw and the fans and stuff, that’s when it hit me. ‘Damn, I’m not going to play.’ I’m here to support so it’s all good.” Wayne, sitting on the visitor’s bench and looking around the cavernous stadium as his teammates prepared for kickoff, briefly turned his attention to the future. He faces a long road back, but he can’t wait to start the journey.
Colts WR Reggie Wayne returns to team, provides inspirational message
Indianapolis Star | Nov 4