Thursday, July 24, 2014
Supporting cast eases Wayne's return
By Mike Wells
ANDERSON, Ind. -- Many eyes will be locked in on Indianapolis Colts veteran receiver Reggie Wayne with every sharp cut he makes, every time he goes across the middle to make a play or anytime he goes down to the ground the first time he takes the practice field during training camp.
Wayne is already on his way to proving naysayers wrong about his ability to return from a torn ACL -- suffered in Week 7 against Denver -- as he's been cleared to take part in training camp. The only way Wayne won't be on the field is if the Colts to decide to hold him out. Wayne joked that he brought his boxing gloves to go a couple of rounds with coach Chuck Pagano if he's forced to miss some practice time.
"I've been going old-style, three times a day, for the longest," Wayne said. "I had a goal set, I wanted to make sure I get to that goal, and that goal was to be ready for Day 1 of training camp. I was on a mission."
The pressure isn't on Wayne to take over a game like he has done countless times in his 14-year career. The Colts have given Wayne help, the type of help that eases any pressure he has to produce at the level he did prior to tearing his ACL.
"I think it helps everyone, not just Reggie to have all these dynamic playmakers on the field," Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said. "Everybody including the guys on the line and the backfield, so a lot of weapons and obviously Reggie is unbelievable so hopefully it helps ease some of the load."
Barring injury and with the help of solid play on the offensive line, Luck could be on his way to having the best group of playmakers he's worked with in his three-year career.
Wayne will still be Mr. Reliable for Luck. The quarterback knows he'll be able to count on Wayne to get open in a time of need. But there's speedsters Nicks and Hilton on the outside and Fleener and Allen who Luck can also go to.
"There's no way you can just scheme up ways to take away Reggie and not have to account for T.Y., as well as our tight ends, Hakeem Nicks and Donte Moncrief," Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. "We have some guys that can make some plays on our offense. It's really exciting to know that on any given play, we feel like we potentially have a matchup that will be in our favor."
Wayne made his grand entrance to training camp Wednesday when he arrived in an Indy race car.
Is the arrival in a race car a sign that Wayne has regained his speed?
"I guess you can look at it that way," he said. "This is one way of saying it. I do feel fast, I do feel good. Hopefully I can go out there and pick up right where I left off."