INDIANAPOLIS – Bill Belichick has always been fond of Reggie Wayne.
Whenever the Patriots head coach had the chance to talk about the Colts all-time winningest player, he spoke glowingly of No. 87.
Now, Belichick gets to coach Wayne.
The New England Patriots agreed to terms with Wayne on Monday for a one-year deal, adding yet another chapter to the game's dominant rivalry of the past decade.
Wayne made it clear last month that he ideally would play one more NFL season before retiring to spend more time with his family.
The Colts chose not to re-sign Wayne in March, after the sure-handed wide receiver battled through several injuries over his last two seasons in Indianapolis.
An offseason filled with rehab for Wayne has been one without employment to an NFL team, allowing for plenty of family time.
"I've realized this year just how much I've missed (my family)," Wayne said in July, when he was in Indianapolis to receive a key to the city from Mayor Greg Ballard. "A lot of times I become a distant dad a bit, along with all the other athletes, because there's so much training involved. I've been doing a lot of family time (this offseason) and enjoying the heck out of it.
"The boys, seeing them practice, seeing them do karate and all that stuff, that's something that I hadn't been able to witness for many years, so I'm enjoying that time."
Reggie's highlights from the 2014 season.
Wayne, who turns 37 in November, now enters his 15th NFL season ranking No. 7 in league history with 1,070 receptions and No. 8 with 14,345 receiving yards.
Of course, the intrigue of Colts fans seeing Wayne up close in another jersey could be very real.
The Patriots will head to Lucas Oil Stadium for a Sunday Night Football matchup on October 18.
Back in 2012, rumors had the Patriots eager to pursue the then free agent in Wayne.
The six-time Pro Bowler elected to return to Indianapolis, but that didn't stop Belichick's admiration for his newest wide receiver.
"He's still really good at everything," Belichick said of Wayne prior to last season's regular season contest against the Colts.
"[He's] obviously a real smart and experienced guy; knows how to set up routes, make all of his routes look the same, does a great job of releasing and then at the top of his routes being able to create separation at just the right time when the quarterback is ready to throw. He's been a key guy for them in critical situations and third down-type situations. I'm sure that there's a lot of confidence that he's going to be open and he usually is. Excellent hands; made a lot of tough catches. He's still a very dangerous receiver, clutch player and a guy who really, when they need a play, they're not afraid to go to him and he'll deliver for them."