INDIANAPOLIS --- The Colts locker room opened to reporters around 12:30 Monday afternoon. In the middle of that session, the news broke that Reggie Wayne was signing with the Patriots.
Every player asked went on to wish the franchise's all-time leader in wins and games played well, despite going to the rival after 14 seasons in a Colts uniform.
"That's great for him. I talked to him all last night," said receiver T.Y. Hilton, who Wayne mentored during Hilton's first three seasons in the NFL. "I can't wait to see him out there playing football again...it'd be weird, but like I said, I can't wait to see him go out and play. I know he wanted to play one more year."
"I think it's obviously a great thing for Reggie and his family. We all know he wanted to play another year," said Head Coach Chuck Pagano. "That's tremendous. Extremely happy for him. I'm sure everybody in this building, all his teammates, all the coaches, are excited for him. He's got another opportunity."
It makes sense statistically why Wayne would want to play another season. He needs just 32 receptions to move from 7th to 3rd on the all-time list, which would pass his former teammate and future Colts Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison. 948 more receiving yards would move him from 8th on the all-time list to 3rd as well, passing Harrison, Tim Brown, Tony Gonzalez, Isaac Bruce, and Randy Moss.
"Reg was a great player here and a great teammate," said offensive lineman Joe Reitz.
"You shake his hand before the game and wish him luck, but not too much luck."
The Colts and Patriots meet week 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday Night Football (in case you hadn't heard). Two Colts have experienced the reverse order of Wayne's move across the rivalry. Kicker Adam Vinatieri and cornerback Darius Butler both played in New England before Indianapolis.
"I'm happy for him. I know he wanted to play football," said Vinatieri. "It will be interesting to see him come here six, seven weeks down the road, whatever it is and have him have a different jersey on. I can imagine all the fans will be cheering for him when he steps on the field. I know I'm going to give him a big hug and say congratulations and good luck. Hopefully, he's not catching too many against us."
"I'm sure it will be different for him," said Butler. "I'm happy for him. I know him as a friend, as a teammate, as a former teammate, and I'm obviously looking forward to playing against him. It's kind of the age of the NFL that we live in. It's kind of the nature of the business."
"Going against the great one? I've got so much respect for that man," said safety Mike Adams, whose locker was right next to Wayne's in the Colts complex last season. "I'm happy for him. I'm going to compete with him too, because I know he's going to compete with me. That's what it's all about - competition. Utmost respect for him, and good luck with that."
Vinatieri said he still remembered the returns to Indianapolis of players like Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, and Jeff Saturday and looks forward to a pre-game moment like those at Lucas Oil Stadium week 6.
"To me he's still the quintessential Colt & will be forever and ever."
Well said by the man who would maybe know this situation best, as Vinatieri is about to play 10 seasons on each side of the rivalry.