INDIANAPOLIS – Reggie Wayne's 2012 off-season remains the same as it relates to working physically in maintaining the edge that has made him one of the NFL's elite receivers over the last decade.
This off-season, however, brings a physical change for Wayne in that he is spending time in Indianapolis rather than pushing himself with former college teammates at the University of Miami facilities.
Long known for his rigorous off-season regimen in Coral Gables, Wayne is pushing himself these days at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center as he meets new teammates and learns a new offense.
"New faces. It's still early in the ballgame," said Wayne. "Everybody seems like they're cool people, fun guys to be around. So far, so good."
Wayne and defensive end Robert Mathis are two established veterans who have returned to the Colts. Since the end of last season, a number of past teammates have moved on in their careers.
New also is the coaching staff. While Clyde Christensen, Wayne's position coach, enters his 11th season in Indianapolis, the 20-member coaching staff boasts 17 new faces. Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians is in his second stint with Indianapolis, but his first one ended just prior to Wayne's 2001 arrival. Wayne's upcoming season means a new system, and it is foreign to him.
"Right now, this playbook is Greek to me. I don't speak Greek," quipped Wayne. "I have to be here to figure it out. I'm going to try my best to learn it. … Every night I'm looking at my playbook. I feel like I'm studying for the bar. I don't know what that feeling is, but it has to feel something like this."
As Wayne builds understanding of the system, he is creating relationships with new teammates. Austin Collie remains a familiar veteran face, while Donnie Avery is a new veteran face. Gone are past position mates Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez.
The newness of the system and the personnel around him has not affected Wayne's expectations.
"Mine, personally? Nothing's changed," said Wayne of his 2012 approach. "What's supposed to change? (It's) the same intensity. Go out and win ballgames. Figure out a way to get it done. Do whatever it takes to win. Nothing's changed. They're (his new teammates) pro athletes. They want to win. Keep marching.
"It's football. Football is always a different feeling, no matter what is going on. You have to adjust and keep going."
Wayne has adjusted his work site for the first time in recent memory. Doing so makes good business sense.
"Practice, that's why I'm here in April. Go out there and practice," said Wayne. "Figure it out and learn it, the best way you could, the fastest way you can. Just get to learn the system together. That seems like the best way to do it. However we can get it done, we're going to try to get it done.
"I'm going to take it day-by-day, but I've been here all week. … I'm here, man. I'm taking time away from my family, who's not used to this either. They're pretty upset at the 2-14 finish like we (players) are."
With 862 receptions for 11,708 yards and 73 touchdowns, Wayne is one of history's most established performers. With some observers predicting a second difficult season for Indianapolis, Wayne is pressing on with typical determination.
"As far as me personally, my goal is not to slack any. I'm still doing the same thing I've been doing – getting better each day. (I) still go out and provide my services the best way I could.
"Nothing changes for anybody. We're not expecting any moral victories or nothing like that. You still have to win. Teams are still going to want to kick our (tail). We have to stop it from happening."
Mathis bowed his back recently when the word "rebuilding" was used to describe this off-season. Wayne echoes the sentiment of Mathis.
"I'm too old to rebuild. The only thing I'm rebuilding is the cars in my garage," said Wayne. "Even though it's a whole new regime, we still want to bring on those winning ways, those winning tradition that we're used to. The guys in this locker room in the past have won more games than anyone else in the last decade. We have to figure out a way to instill that into them (new teammates).
"Hopefully, they're coming from a winning team and they'll bring some of their winning ways. Winning ways are winning ways and you come out with more winning ways. Whatever we have to do to get it done, we have to figure it out."