When Reggie Wayne was back in Indianapolis during NCAA Final Four weekend recently, he chatted with one of my former colleagues, Mike Chappell, about the Indianapolis Colts’ recent decision to not re-sign the 14-year wide receiver.
Chap shared his WRTV-6 interview with Reg, who was understandably disappointed about the team’s decision to move on.
What stood out from perusing the quotes was his health situation. And that should be underscored when discussing his possible future.
We all knew Wayne, 36, wasn’t healthy for the latter half of the season. He was a shell of his former self, but we didn’t realize the severity of his injuries beyond a torn triceps.
He actually underwent surgeries on triceps in both arms after the season. When he first hurt his left triceps, it was partially torn. By season’s end, it was completely torn.
Wayne had also sprained the MCL of his surgically repaired right knee in the season opener at Denver. He underwent a scope on that knee after the season. That explains why he was a step slow all season.
“I was never 100 percent,” Wayne said.
He said his recovery timetable, worst case, would be “six months” and added the four-to-six-month rehab would be a “slow process.” He expects to be good to go when NFL teams get started at training camps in August.
That’s why he hasn’t signed anywhere yet. He can’t pass a physical. And he won’t get signed again until he’s healthy.
“I want to see results ASAP,” Wayne said, “but you have to be patient.”
Wayne was encouraged by his rehab so far and insisted he’s “just not done yet.”
As Chap first reported, Wayne pleaded with owner Jim Irsay to stay for one more year. They met in Palm Beach, Fla., where Irsay informed the six-time Pro Bowl star that the team had decided to move on.
Hindsight being 20-20, the way the season played out with Wayne getting fewer touches, he admitted he should have gone on injured reserve last season. But he wanted to help the team. So he played.
“I love them guys,” he said. “I did what I always do. I went out there with my brothers and laid it on the line. If I’m hurt, I’m hurt. I’m still going to give you everything I’ve got. At the end of the day there’s not going to be nothing left in the tank.”
Wayne said he wasn’t surprised by the team’s decision, but couldn’t hide his disappointment.
“I appreciate being able to look at him directly in the face,” Wayne said of Irsay. “He told me what it was. I told him what it was. Did I plead my case? Yeah, I pleaded my case.
“I even went out on a limb and told him to sign me and I didn’t have to be the main guy. I ain’t never complained about footballs (touches). I told him I was just looking for one more year. And I told him if I ain’t healthy or if I ain’t want you want me to be in training camp, we can have this talk again. We can shake hands and we can go our own way. Release me and I’ll go walk into the light.”
But the Colts were convinced it was time. He reiterated he had nothing negative to say about Irsay or his former team.
Wayne said his next situation has to make sense. He’s received “some damned good contacts” from other teams.
It’s just a matter of getting healthy. When he is, Reggie Wayne is confident he can prove he’s not done just yet.
“Ain’t no doubt in my mind I’ve got a minimum of one, maybe two years left in me,” he said. “Ain’t no doubt.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.