INDIANAPOLIS – When Reggie Wayne was asked this week about playing in his 200th career game (the third most in Colts franchise history), the 14-year veteran offered this with a grin…
"Hopefully the 200th game will be the best one yet," Wayne said.
Wayne's seven catches for 119 yards on Sunday afternoon might not rank on the top game list for his Hall of Fame type career but it served another notice that yes, indeed, Reggie Wayne is back.
"Open up one of y'all's tape recorders, replay the same things I say about him every week," Andrew Luck joked after the game about another typical Wayne performance.
"He's a pro. He makes plays. He shows up in third down. He shows up in the red zone. Obviously his hands are incredible. He's a phenomenal football player, and I do think we take it for granted a little bit in the locker room just because you're around him every day and don't realize this is truly a special football player."
Luck was confident that Wayne would return to this level but it took a Training Camp practice back in Anderson for the quarterback to witness it first hand.
On that night, in front of about 5,000 fans in Anderson, Wayne was the consistent go-to threat that Luck had relied on so much in his young NFL career.
"We were practicing on the turf field there in their stadium, kind of a big situational day, a lot of third down, sort of scrimmage-ish type, and Reggie kept making plays and kept making plays," Luck recalled.
"That's sort of the day where it was like, 'Alright, this guy is back.'"
Sunday, Wayne dazzled in front of more than 60,000 fans, reassuring all of them that Wayne will continue to perform at the highest of levels.
His seven catches all went for first downs, as he recorded his first 100-yard game in nearly a year.
In true Wayne fashion, his highlight on Sunday came during a critical third-quarter drive.
An Andrew Luck interception late in the second quarter cut the Colts commanding halftime lead to just 20-10 and you could sense the momentum was favoring the visitors after halftime.
On the Colts first offensive drive of the third quarter, Wayne hauled in passes of 21, 17 and 28 yards, the last of which saw the 14-year vet hide is sure-handed mits until the final second and then showed the necessary footwork to get into the end zone for the first time in 2014.
"The guy obviously has a gift," Chuck Pagano said of Wayne's 28-yard touchdown. "He's got instincts. You can't teach that stuff, but he practices that stuff over and over and over again. Obviously he's been doing it for a long time. Guy's 50-years-old (smiles) and still making plays like that."
As Pagano handed Wayne another game ball after the game, the head coach ran down the list of accomplishments.
-Moving up to 7th on the all-time receptions list (1,029).
-Moving up to 10th on the all-time receiving yardage list (13,873).
-Pushing his NFL record of consecutive games with at least three receptions to 75 games.
To Wayne, there will be a time for reflection on a career that has plenty to talk about.
Now, isn't that time though. Not when you put up games like Sunday.
"When I was put into this situation when I was brought into the league, it was just to come and do the best I possibly can," Wayne said on Sunday. "I was blessed to be drafted by the Colts in 2001 and I just wanted to come out and compete to show them that this investment was pretty solid. Here we are 14 years later and when you play that long, you're going to catch some milestones, as I always say.
"I'm just thankful to be healthy enough to go out there and to fellowship with my brethren and it's just a big win for us. It's a divisional game. We know what was at stake, we came out and wanted to continue to set a statement."