The team announced Friday it would not re-sign the 14-year star, who has won and played in more games than any other player in franchise history but has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons.
Wayne repeatedly expressed a desire last season to finish his career with the only organization he has ever known since being drafted in the first round in 2001. But now that he’s about to become a free agent on Tuesday, the source confirms he will entertain offers from other NFL teams.
Not just any team, but a Super Bowl contender, according to the source.
Wayne, 36, has yet to publicly comment on his situation but he’s expected to make a statement in the next day or two, the source said.
Colts owner Jim Irsay flew to Florida to meet with Wayne a weekend ago. It’s believed Irsay informed the wide receiver then of the team’s intention to not retain him.
Irsay tweeted of the meeting: ““As Reggie and I met last Sunday thru that warm Florida night; I realized there’s a time warp called memories, where Father Time is not known.”
When the Colts announced their decision Friday, Irsay said in the release, “Reggie is one of the greatest men to ever wear the horseshoe, and we have been blessed to watch him play for the past 14 years. When he first took the field with us in 2001, we knew this day would eventually arrive. That reality is one of the things that makes pro football such a tough business. We feel this decision is in the best interests of the team and for Reggie as it will allow him to seek a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere if he so chooses.
“Reggie is beloved by the Colts organization and our fans and he will always be a part of the Colts family. I look forward to the day in the near future when our great number 87 enters the Colts Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Wayne ranks seventh in NFL history with 1,070 receptions, eight with 14,345 yards and 22nd with 82 touchdowns. He trails only Marvin Harrison in each category in the franchise record books.
This past season, he set Colts records by playing in his 211th career game and in the 143rd career victory.
But he wasn’t the same player after tearing his left triceps and suffering a left elbow injury against Cincinnati on Oct. 19. He missed the next start, then had just 26 catches for 345 yards with one touchdown in eight games. Wayne caught only one 12-yard pass in three playoff starts.
His 64 receptions for 779 yards were the second-lowest totals in 12 seasons, the exception being 38 catches for 503 yards in 2013, when he suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in the seventh game.
Wayne, who turns 37 in November, is still recovering from surgery to repair the torn triceps, so it will take time to get healthy before he can prove to another team that he can return for a 15th season.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.