Reggie Wayne, who amassed 14,345 receiving yards in his 14-year career and is top-10 all-time in postseason receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns, will yet again have to wait at least one more year to finally take his deserved place in Canton.
Wayne on Thursday was not announced as one of the five Modern Era members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2023. He was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's classes of 2020 (his first year eligible), 2021 and 2022.
Fellow Colts legend Dwight Freeney also was not included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2023. Freeney was in his first year of eligibility.
That the Hall of Fame selection committee passed over Wayne for a fourth time, and Freeney for the first time, does not diminish the gold jacket-worthy careers of both longtime Colts standouts. .
A 2001 first-round pick (No. 30 overall) from Miami, Wayne played every one of his 211 regular season and 21 playoff games with the Colts. Wayne earned Pro Bowl honors every year from 2006-2010 and in 2012; in 2010, he was named a first-team AP All-Pro.
Wayne led the NFL in receiving in 2007 (1,510 yards) and had over 100 catches in four seasons (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012). He had 1,000 or more yards in seven consecutive seasons from 2004-2010 and totaled 82 touchdowns and 763 first downs in his career.
In that stretch between 2004 and 2010, Wayne averaged 92 receptions, 1,264 yards and eight touchdowns per season.
But for as great as Wayne was in the regular season, he was even better in the postseason. Only Hall of Famer Jerry Rice has more postseason receptions than Wayne (93); his 1,254 postseason receiving yards rank fourth all-time. Wayne's 53-yard touchdown opened the Colts' scoring in their Super Bowl XLI triumph over the Chicago Bears.
Wayne's 211 games played are a franchise record, while his 1,070 receptions, 14,345 yards and 82 receiving touchdowns are second in Colts history behind Harrison. Wayne was inducted into the Colts Ring of Honor in 2018.
Wayne is one of 14 players in NFL history to have at least 1,000 receptions and is one of 12 players to have at least 14,000 receiving yards. Wayne ranks 10th all time in both receptions and receiving yards.
Freeney starred for the Colts from 2002-2012 and finished his career with 125 1/2 sacks, 26th-most in NFL history. He was a three-time first-team AP All-Pro (2004, 2005, 2009) and a seven-time Pro Bowler (2003-2005, 2008-2011). Freeney was named to the NFL All-Decade team for the 2000s.
Using his signature spin move to terrorize opposing offensive linemen, Freeney recorded double-digit sacks in seven seasons and forced four or more fumbles in eight seasons. He exploded onto the scene as a first-round pick in 2002 with a league-leading 20 tackles for a loss and nine forced fumbles; in 2004, he led the NFL with 16 sacks. Freeney's 51 sacks over the first four years of his career rank sixth all-time.
And Freeney, like Wayne, stood out on the NFL's biggest stages. His 11 postseason sacks are tied for ninth all-time.
Wayne and Freeney, eventually, should take their place in the Hall of Fame next to three former teammates: Quarterback Peyton Manning (Class of 2021), running back Edgerrin James (Class of 2020) and wide receiver Marvin Harrison (Class of 2016) as well as the man who drafted them (general manager Bill Polian) and the man who coached them to a Super Bowl ring (Tony Dungy). Freeney's pass rushing partner, Robert Mathis, has been named a semifinalist in each of his first two years of Pro Football Hall of Fame eligibility, while kicker Adam Vinatieri will become eligible for the Pro Football Hall of fame in 2025.