INDIANAPOLIS – Excuse
A little over two months ago, Wayne explained the bulk of his motivation for returning from an ACL injury at the age of 35 came in an effort to silence those questioning him.
Wayne said this just days before the Colts were about to embark on a nine-week offseason program, where players would return to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center to begin a journey they hope ends in Arizona come February.
As the Colts offseason program wrapped up last Thursday, Wayne shed some insight into how his perspective (and motivation) has changed heading into year No. 14.
“The one that’s been more motivating for me is just my teammates. I feel like I kind of left them hanging a little bit last year, so I want to be back out there with my teammates,” Wayne said last week.
“I don’t feel like I’ve got anything to prove to nobody. At first it started that way, but as time went by, I don’t have anything to prove. I know what I can do. These guys in the locker room know what I’m capable of doing. Now it’s time to show the guys, the first-timers that haven’t seen me play, the ones that keep calling me, ‘Mr. Wayne,’ the ones that keep talking about that they’ve been playing with me on Madden. It’s time for me to show those guys what I can do.”
To hear Wayne say he let his teammates “hanging a bit” is almost laughable when you look at the resume No. 87 has currently written.
The ACL injury Wayne suffered in Week 7 of last season marked an end to a consecutive starts streak that spanned 189 games.
Wayne prides himself on ringing the bell week-in-and-week-out and he’s more than eager to start up a new streak on September 7th.
“I told our (receivers coach Charlie Williams), ‘I’m that Chevy that’s in the garage. As soon as you open the garage, I’m out. I’m gone,’ a grinning Wayne says.
“So I’m just waiting until they tell me I can go on and suit up and be a normal football player. Up until then, I’ll kind of help teach a little bit and do as much as I possibly can.”
Wayne said last week he’s back running routes but knows there’s one guy that might be holding him back when training camp opens up in Anderson.
When camp begins, Wayne will be nine months removed from tearing his ACL.
Chuck Pagano will have the final say on when his old friend from the University of Miami can return to the practice field.
“I’m planning on bringing some extra boxing gloves for me and Chuck, so whenever he tells me I can’t go, we’re just going to lace ‘em up (laughs),” Wayne says.
“I feel great. I can’t wait until camp. This is going to be a long 34 days for me. I’m excited where I am. I’m excited where this team is right now.”
The excitement for Wayne largely comes from his own physical feeling.
Along with running routes, Wayne was seen sprinting on the Colts adjacent practice field during the team’s minicamp last week.
In a weird way, Wayne sees some positives of trying to rehab an ACL injury at an age where few players are even still playing the game of football.
Yet, with his teammates by his side, Wayne is back trying to defy the odds.
“This has probably been the healthiest I’ve been probably since ’02,” he says.
“One blessing I do take out of last year is maybe it was time for me to kind of let my body heal a little bit…and I’ve done that.”