INDIANAPOLIS – One of the Colts greatest players in franchise history, and a potential Hall of Famer, will not be returning in 2015.
The Colts announced on Friday morning that they will not re-sign Wayne, who enters the 2015 offseason as an unrestricted free agent at the age of 36.
"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," Owner Jim Irsay said in a team release.
"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's illustrious career with the Colts spanned 14 seasons and he finishes his time in Indianapolis as the franchise leader in regular season games played (211) and wins (143).
Known as one of the NFL's best route runners to go with his super-glue like hands, Wayne ranks second in Colts history in receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,345), receiving touchdowns (80), 100-yard games (43) and consecutive games with a reception (134).
Colts GM Ryan Grigson has been effusive in his praise for Wayne and what No. 87 has meant to the franchise.
"Everyone knows the greatness and history associated with number 87," Grigson said of Wayne. "He truly is one of a small handful of players who really define the Colts as an organization.
"He was already a Hall of Famer in the making when Chuck and I arrived in Indianapolis in 2012, but no one has contributed more, on the field and in this building, to our turnaround, our continued growth, and our overall success since then. Reggie was the catalyst that sparked and ignited the team during our comeback against Green Bay in 2012. His gritty performance that day and that entire challenging season infused us all with the belief we could overcome any obstacle. His dedication and the example he set are second to none. We wish him nothing but the best in whatever new endeavor he pursues.
Reggie's highlights from the 2014 season.
While the highlights of Wayne are endless, that day he dazzled the Lucas Oil faithful in his orange-clad gloves, in honor of Chuck Pagano, might rank atop the rest.
Wayne had 13 catches for 212 yards on that October afternoon making go-go gadget snag after snag in leading the Colts to complete a thrilling comeback of a Packers team that was 15-1 the prior season.
The future Ring of Honor inductee made sure that the game ball would be delivered down the street to Pagano, who was beginning the fight of his life with leukemia.
"My relationship with Reggie goes back to my coaching days at the University of Miami," Pagano said. "He is the epitome of what a coach looks for in a player. Hard work, dedication, and sacrifice are just a few ways I would describe him. He encompasses everything that is right about this game, on and off the field. I am so grateful I had the chance to coach Reggie again when I arrived in 2012. It was a blessing to see the impact that he made with this organization and Colts fans around the world. I wish him all the best in the future and thank him for representing the horseshoe in the most professional manner."