Colts WR Reggie Wayne Says He's Ready to Go Out and Produce Next Season
INDIANAPOLIS – Nine seasons in, Reggie Wayne said his approach hasn't changed.
He still looks to improve every season, as he usually has done, and said he still seeks to do so by working tirelessly in the offseason.
So, yes, his circumstances are different this season. There's no Marvin Harrison, and that makes Wayne even more high-profile than he has been in the last few seasons, the last three of which have ended in the Pro Bowl.
But change? No, Wayne said. He hasn't changed.
He's still grinding. Hard as he ever did.
"I've been getting it," Wayne said this week at the Colts' 2009 mandatory mini-camp, which is taking place this weekend at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center and Franklin College.
"I'm down at the University of Miami. Normally, it's 5:30 every morning, but I've moved it a little further, so now it's 6:30 every morning. I've just been getting it, preparing myself for the upcoming season. I know there is going to be a lot expected of me, and I'm just ready to go out there and produce."
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said Wednesday when he spoke to Wayne earlier this week the former first-round selection in the 2001 NFL Draft said he may be in the best condition of his career.
"That's pretty good shape, because he does an excellent job maintaining his condition," Caldwell said, adding.
"In all areas, he's a guy who has a great love of the game. He's passionate about it and he displays it in everything he does. He has great qualities and all in all, he's just an outstanding football player. He's really exciting to be around.
"He's been playing at a Pro Bowl-caliber level for a number of years, so we anticipate the same type of performance."
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said Friday Wayne arrived this week as he always does.
"He's what I always expect him to be," Manning said. "Reggie is one of those reliable veterans that you're always going to know what to expect from him. You can always count on him. His durability is something I think has been underrated. He has been there for all 16 games, and you can count on him to be there on Sunday in the fourth quarter on the critical third-and-five that you have to convert.
"It's just nice having a guy that can be accountable like that."
Manning, who long has said he considers Wayne one of the NFL's elite receivers, on Friday addressed the issue of Wayne as a "No. 1 receiver" in the Colts' offense.
"That's always been the question, 'Is Reggie a No. 1 receiver?'" Manning said. "Really, for the past however many years, I feel like we've had two No. 1 receivers. Reggie has established himself. I've always thought Reggie, in his comments, always gave the proper respect that Marvin deserved. Marvin was the guy around here, and I think Marvin always appreciated that Reggie was saying the right thing. At the same time, if you asked any cornerback, Reggie had truly established himself as a No. 1 receiver."
Wayne, who has never entered an NFL season without Harrison on the opposite side, said his approach won't change in the eight-time Pro Bowl selection's absence.
"The only thing (is) I have to make sure I'm ready – healthy and ready," Wayne said. "I'm definitely that right now. I know they (the defenses) are going to be keying on me and that's what it's all about. That's when I hope my teammates can help me out a little bit. That's kind of how it is, we feed off of each other. I think over my years with Marvin that's how it happened.
"We need to rely on each other. It's going to be exciting. I'm pumped up about it."
Wayne, who said he anticipates moving around from left to right – "a little bit everywhere," he said – as he did the last several seasons, also was asked this week about just where he feels he is at this stage of his career.
"There's plenty more," Wayne said. "I just told you I'm in the best shape since I've been in college. I feel like, body wise, that I'm in my early 20s. I feel like I'm 20, 21 years old. I feel pretty good. Mind-wise I know I'm 30 but it's all about how you feel. I feel like I have a lot more that I can do. It's not just about the numbers.
"It's about being a complete player, helping the younger guys, being a better blocker, whatever it takes. I want to Jerry Rice this thing. I just want to do it. I want to play for as long as I possibly can."