INDIANAPOLIS – As good friends and co-hosts of the event that brought them to the Indiana Convention Center on Saturday, Amp Harris wasn’t afraid to ask a favor of Reggie Wayne.
Despite the fact that he was in street clothes and sported a wrap on his right knee, the promoter of the event wanted the Colts’ receiver to give the packed audience of fans at the makeshift basketball venue a preview of his skills-post torn ACL.
Wayne obliged, backpedaling from halfcourt to the free throw line and then back again to a loud ovation. He showed no ill effects of the knee injury he suffered on October 20th against the Broncos.
While further confirmation will be needed when Wayne hits the field next week for the start of training camp in Anderson, everything seemed like it was in many years past during the exhibition game Saturday night.
“I feel good, I’m ready to go,” said Wayne of the approaching training camp. “Training camp is training camp. I don’t think there is anyone excited about their vacation come up to an end. But we do understand that it’s time to go back to work.
"I think everyone is excited for it."
More excited than in year's past because of the injury? Wayne says no.
"It's the same as always," said Wayne of training camp after missing nearly half a season due to injury. "Same intensity. Nothing more, nothing less."
Wayne could say the same thing about this charity game, which he has co-hosted for a number of years with Harris in Indianapolis-which has become his second home since joining the Colts in 2001. While he wasn't participating in the game himself, Wayne did take pride in being able to participate in the event in a town which has embraced him so much.
"I feel like this is home to me," said Wayne, who is a native of New Orleans. "This is going on 14 years that I've been here. It's kinda hard for me to think about myself and not think about '317'. I appreciate everything that Indianapolis has done for me.
"This is a way for me to give back."
Wayne did so with teammates T.Y. Hilton and Vick Ballard along with former Colts' linebacker Gary Brackett. Former Patriot and briefly a Colt Deion Branch took part in the game along with former Pacer Fred Jones and other national stars in town for the IBE Summer Celebration.
Even Lance Stephenson-who was signed away from the Pacers by the Hornets this week-made an appearance at the game to watch.
"It means a lot to everyone here," said Wayne of the charity game. "It's an opportunity for us to get our youth together. Basically just this whole Indiana Black Expo is an opportunity for us to teach our youth what's good and what's bad.
"We know there's a lot of people we've got to get to but even if we get one, two or three people to understand what's right and wrong, we feel like we're winning."
Hilton believe the Colts will be too-and his fellow receiver Wayne will be a big part of that.
"Heeee's baaaack," said the receiver when asked about Wayne-who on Saturday seemed like he'd never left.