INDIANAPOLIS – As the Colts gathered for team meetings on Sunday morning in Denver, Andrew Luck was a kid in a candy store seeing Reggie Wayne present, and ready to suit up.
"It's great to have you back," was the popular phrase Luck offered to the 14-year veteran returning to the playing field.
Later that night, Wayne would thank his quarterback with a nine-catch, 98-yard performance less than 11 months removed from tearing the ACL in his right knee.
"Whenever you got your quarterback feeling like that, you want to make sure you go out there, ready and do everything you can possibly do to make them succeed the best they can," Wayne said Tuesday on his weekly radio show on WNDE in Indianapolis.
Luck didn't waste any time looking for Wayne on Sunday night.
A 22-yard reception on the first play from scrimmage by Wayne highlighted the opening drive.
"As a receiver, when you know the first play is a pass play, you are excited," Wayne told Query and Schultz. "Then for me to get that pass, get a 20 plus yard gain, all of a sudden you feel like it's going to be your day a little bit. It was good to get going early and get in that zone a little bit."
That catch put Wayne atop another franchise record. Wayne now has at least one reception in 191 career games, breaking Marvin Harrison's previous mark.
"Wow, I did not know that. That's pretty cool," Wayne said when host Jake Query informed him of the record.
"We all know what Marvin has done for the Colts organization and what he's done for the city. It's humbling to know that you are starting to catch Marvin and beat some things that he's accomplished. It also lets you know that you've been here a long time. He put so many records it seemed like so far out of reach, but I guess when you play long enough, I guess some of those things get caught."
In the Colts season opener, there was no pitch count on the 35-year old receiver.
Wayne played 69 of the team's 74 offensive snaps, sitting out one play in the third quarter after a brief panic on his surgically repaired knee.
On a screen pass, Wayne slipped to the ground and did not immediately get up, with an eerie silence falling over the visiting six-time Pro Bowler.
"As I'm slipping, going to the ground, it seemed like everything went into slow motion. It seemed like I could see everything happening all over again," Wayne said on Tuesday.
"I do understand why there are four preseason games because my whole body hurts. I feel like I've been hit by a Mack Truck because I didn't get many reps (in the preseason). Then you realize it's almost been a year since I put pads on, and played a full game, and I can tell you it was tough sleeping (Monday) night but it's a great soreness just on the strength that I'm back in action. I'm back out there with my teammates. I feel great now. I feel a 1,000 times better but at the time, it did affect me a bit."
As Wayne looks back on the 2014 season opener, he doesn't reflect too much on any abnormal pregame emotions.
Yes, there were tears in Wayne's eyes but that just comes from the appreciation the consummate pro has as he approaches a decade and a half in the NFL.
"I get tears in my eyes the first game every year just on the strength of, 'Man, it's another year,' Wayne says.
"The life expectancy of an NFL football player is three and a half years and now I'm going into my 14th year. I've beaten those odds a few times. I'm going to have tears in my eyes and it's just going to be because I'm blessed. I'm truly blessed to be doing something I've been doing since I was seven years old. I'm still enjoying doing it."