Reggie Wayne tore his ACL on October 20th last season. After nearly a year of rehab and getting himself ready for his 14th season in the NFL, Wayne finally returned to action in the preseason game against the New Orleans Saints. Wayne played two series for seven official snaps and had two catches that would be brought back by penalties.
There was no doubt that his return would mean a great deal to the team.
Chuck Pagano on Wayne’s appearance, “It was tremendous.” He later added, “I know for Reggie, it was awesome. For all of us, it was great to see him back out there.”
Andrew Luck said, “It was great. I know the fans were excited. I know everybody on the sidelines was excited and we were excited on the field to have him out there. Good for him to get some touches and get hit, I think. He always has that great look in his eye when he’s on a football field. It’s very — reassuring might not be the right word — but it’s great to play with. It’s great to play with guys like him.”
Luck was asked if he knew in advance that the first offensive play would go to Wayne. “I had an inkling, from the moment he started working back to get ready, that when he came back the first play would go to Reggie Wayne.”
This was the first time Hakeem Nicks was on the field as Wayne’s teammate, but he still noticed how big of a deal it was. “He was actually excited. We were all happy for him. He took the field, got some catches, got going a little early. So I think that’s good for him and good for us.”
Griff Whalen also noticed the excitement from Wayne. “He was definitely excited, we all could see it. I’m sure the fans could see it. It was awesome to see. Pregame, he was all jacked up, ready to go.”
Wayne on what it felt like to play football again, “It was fun. This is what all the hard rehab was all about — getting this opportunity to go back out there with my teammates.”
Although the circumstances, Wayne still thought this was a fairly normal game. “It might have been the loudest I’ve heard my name once it was called. But other than that, everything was normal, everything was the same. That’s the way I wanted it.”
However, Wayne thoroughly appreciates the support from the fans. “I appreciate them. They can always remind you of where you stand in their hearts. I’ve always loved Indy, man. They’ve always showed me nothing but respect. They’ve always treated me like this is home for me. I just want to do everything I possibly can to show that respect back to them.”
Wayne didn’t add anything to the box score thanks to a couple of penalties, but he didn’t seem to upset about it. “That’s what teammates are for. I was already messing with T.Y., I said: ‘Who you working for? You on us or the officials?'”
Nothing bad happened during Wayne’s first game back, so that should make it a success. Wayne still looked like the player Colts fans have learned to love for over a decade, and hopefully he can continue that all throughout the season.
It’s just good to know that Reggie Wayne is back.