INDIANAPOLIS – On the grounds where Reggie Wayne made his NFL debut, the Colts all-time leader in wins was back in Indianapolis on Friday.
Wayne was present at the Indiana Convention Center where Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard presented him a key to the city for all of his contributions in the community over the past 14 years.
On Friday morning, Ballard called Wayne "an adopted son of our city" as the Indiana Black Expo has labeled this weekend "Reggie Wayne Weekend".
Ballard, who typically donned the No. 87 jersey to games, said he admired the way Wayne uniquely entered Training Camp each year.
"I loved it because it showed the work ethic that he had," Ballard said of Wayne's must-see camp entrances.
"Those who show strong work ethic day-in-and-day-out usually do pretty well in life. They succeed and then become good role models for everybody else and I think that is what Reggie has done over these years. He's been terrific for the city of Indianapolis."
A grinning Wayne took to the podium soon after Ballard and marveled at how touched he was to receive such an honor.
As a father of three sons, Wayne has always been in awe of the impact he has had on kids around the Indianapolis community and beyond.
"A lot of people always ask me why I do what I do," Wayne said on Friday. "I do it because I love to see the smiles on the kids faces. Growing up as a kid, I didn't have those opportunities to meet athletes like that, so for me to go around and being able to see a young boy, young girl and take a picture with them…the kid in me comes out. I enjoy seeing them smile."
"I just want to give back to the community and let them know that I do care and I wasn't always like this. That's why I do this."
The topic of football wasn't far away from Friday's ceremony.
Wayne, who turns 37 in November, said in an ideal world he would play one more season before retiring.
This offseason has been unlike any other for Wayne, with a specific area where the 14-year NFL veteran has been very grateful.
"I've realized this year just how much I've missed (my family). 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."
That time is about to (briefly) come to an end, according to Wayne.
He has fielded calls from teams around the NFL and the plan is for Wayne to play somewhere in 2015.
Wayne underwent offseason triceps surgery after suffering an injury in late October last year.
The six-time Pro Bowler said on Friday that he will still be cheering for the Colts in 2015, especially with a couple of fellow Hurricanes joining the receiving group.
Speaking in the building where the RCA Dome used to lie, Wayne spoke just a couple of hundred yards away from Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday morning.
While he might not be calling that venue 'home' in 2015, that feeling isn't far away.
"It's humbling to receive this honor. I'm very thankful," Wayne said on Friday. "I may not be playing for the Colts, but I'm still circling (Black Expo) weekend every year to make sure that I'm here. They say I'm a, 'Hoosier' so I'm here."
"When I got off the plane yesterday, I told myself, 'Welcome home.' To me that's what it will always be and I'll make sure it stays that way."