Hall of Fame Finalists Football

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, right, pushes off New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis after a catch in the second quarter on Dec. 27, 2009. Wayne, a three-time finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is now the Colts wide receivers coach.

WESTFIELD – Reggie Wayne is a three-time Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist, a six-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion.

When the 43-year-old wide receivers coach speaks, the Indianapolis Colts listen.

But Wayne isn’t keen on trading off his playing career to impart pearls of wisdom to the next generation.

Many of the youngsters in his charge rarely – if ever – saw Wayne play live. They grew up with a different set of role models like Julio Jones, A.J. Green and T.Y. Hilton who were passed the torch by Wayne and his peers.

Still, the current receivers are well aware of Wayne’s legendary accomplishments, and they do get to view the sporadic on-field highlight in clips shown by Colts head coach Frank Reich during offensive meetings.

“It’s tough because I know I can’t do any of those things anymore,” Wayne said of watching his younger self. “But, I mean, I’m not big on me per se showing them my stuff. So Frank does it for me. But if it helps, I’m all for it. I am. We run a lot of the same routes out here today that we did back in the day.

“So whatever you can use to give those guys an example, you use it. I just won’t be showing it. Someone else’s gotta show it.”

Wayne doesn’t need clout to do his job effectively.

He occasionally bemoans the current generation’s obsession with Instagram, and it’s impossible for him not to note the differences in the league since he last played in 2014.

But Wayne has had little trouble connecting with his players.

Even during his own playing career, Wayne always was a natural leader. He was the kind of player who didn’t need to be told to make a correction or get some extra work in. If he didn’t like the outcome of a rep, he’d immediately get back to the line of scrimmage and run it again.

When Wayne finally conceded to four years of cajoling from Reich to join his staff, he made one thing clear. If he took the job, he was going to do things his way.

“He did tell me that, and that’s the blend that we always talk about of confidence and humility,” Reich said. “We bring Reggie here to do it his way. He’s got all that experience, so go ahead and feed what you’ve to those guys. So that’s just what he’s done, but then he’s going to be a team player.

“I really have enjoyed kind of those times together with him going back and forth. ‘Hey, Reg, this is always how I’ve taught this. Do you see it different?’ Sometimes it’s been yes. Sometimes it’s been no. And we kind of talk it through.”

Wayne’s role is critical to this year’s team.

Third-year wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. is the most experienced player at the position on the depth chart, and the average age at the position is 24.3.

Recent signee Isaiah Ford is the elder statesman at 26.

This group must quickly gel with 37-year-old quarterback Matt Ryan and help keep defenses honest against star running back Jonathan Taylor.

It’s Wayne’s duty to help these youngsters reach their potential and, in turn, to help the offense do the same as a whole.

Early indications are Wayne’s work is paying off.

The fact he played the position at the highest level for 14 years and finished with 1,070 career catches for 14,345 yards and 82 touchdowns gives him credibility not many coaches around the league can match.

“Reggie is not like any coach I’ve ever had, but it’s awesome,” Pittman said. “I mean, he’s one of my favorite coaches that I’ve ever had, and I’ve only had him for like two months.”

FULL HOUSE

The Colts announced Sunday’s practice at Grand Park is at full capacity and no further tickets will be distributed.

It’s the second time this summer a Colts practice has “sold out,” with an estimated 6,000 fans attending Saturday night’s session.

Indianapolis returns to the practice field Tuesday at noon. Free tickets can be obtained at Colts.com/Camp.

CHUCKSTRONG

Former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano will return to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Thursday for the Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala.

Former Indianapolis offensive coordinator and Super Bowl-winning head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bruce Arians also will return for the gala. This year’s theme is “A Decade of Dedication,” and former Colts Adam Vinatieri, Robert Mathis and Jack Doyle also plan to be in attendance.

The Chuckstrong movement – inspired by Pagano’s 2012 battle with leukemia during his first season with the Colts – has raised more than $10 million for cancer research at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Trending Video

Recommended for you