Reggie Wayne Knows The Importance Of Donte Moncrief's Return

Intro: With Donte Moncrief’s return this week, Reggie Wayne sees just how important the third-year receiver can be to the offense in Indy.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Reggie Wayne made a living on third down.

For the better part of his 14 seasons in Indianapolis when the money down arrived, it was time for Wayne to pay the bills.

Coming into 2016, many figured Donte Moncrief would ascend into a role that Wayne took so much pride in.

As Wayne takes a closer look into the sort of impact a guy like Moncrief can make, he pictures those critical moments.

"Once a Donte Moncrief gets back, that will help them out," Wayne says. "He's kind of the junkyard dog in that receiver room, to go inside/outside, across the middle, around linebackers. He's the guy to do that.

"With him being out, that kind of paralyzes them a bit. But once he gets back, I think he'll be the main guy on third down."

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Moncrief returned to practice on Wednesday](http://indcolts.co/QGIpQp) for the first time since Week Two.

It was that game in Denver where Moncrief's potential breakout season came to a screeching halt.

On a second-quarter pass attempt over the middle of the field, Moncrief took a shot from Denver Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward.

Initially, Moncrief thought it was a stinger.

But it was much worse.

The first significant injury (a fractured scapula) of his career would cost him more than a month.

"It showed me that football means the world," Moncrief says of the time missed.

"Just being out, I hated watching the games. Now that I'm back out there, I'm ready to go out and have fun."

One aspect of Moncrief's recovery that was a bit different from others, was how invested he stayed throughout the past six weeks.

From practices to road trips, there was Moncrief at every stop, not taking any break from the cerebral side of the game.

"The biggest thing that most of those guys do is that they don't feel like they are contributing," Pagano says of injured players. "They separate themselves because they don't feel that way and that is the worst thing that you can do.

"He has done a great job of still preparing from a mental standpoint, taking all the mental reps."

Watching Moncrief in post-game locker rooms, especially after losses, and you saw how much it was hurting him not to be on the field.

A dejected Moncrief was no longer on Wednesday.

The third-year receiver, quiet by nature around the media, welcomed the cameras his way as he returned to practice.

Andrew Luck's joy was evident, too, following the quarterback's first practice with Moncrief since mid-September.

Moncrief is the Colts' biggest receiver and that physical presence can attack the ball at the moment of truth.

With an offense looking like the trio of T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett could be back together on Sunday, for the first time since early in Week Two, no wonder Luck was smiling after Wednesday's practice.

"He is a dynamic player and an incredibly good receiver," Luck says of Moncrief.

"He has made a bunch of plays in the past. He is big, fast, strong and physical. He is a playmaker. We welcome him back with open arms."

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