INDIANAPOLIS – With his Colts’ blue shoes and confident smile, he looked like he has nearly all of his long tenure in Indianapolis.
You’d never think Reggie Wayne was still in the process of overcoming perhaps the biggest injury of his football career.
But there he was at Dunaways in Downtown Indianapolis, chatting it up with the fans at a fundraiser for the American Cancer Research Society’s Children’s research programs. Put on by Wayne along with longtime Indianapolis promoter Amp Harris, the event was put on in the memory of Ava Parker-a two-year old who died from brain cancer this past January.
There was no better person to pass on the spirit of the event than Wayne, who was as confident as ever that his football days will continue uninterrupted for the upcoming future.
“I feel great, man,” said Wayne on Friday evening. “I’m excited. I’m excited about the team that we are building.”
Of course that process will depend a lot on the health of Wayne for the 2014 season. He had 38 receptions for 503 yards and a pair touchdowns before tearing his ACL while going for a ball in the fourth quarter of the Colts’ 39-33 win over Denver at Lucas Oil Stadium.
After that the Colts struggled with consistency at the wide receiver spot, having strong games and off games without a true number one receiver.
Since the injury and in the winter, Wayne has been working to get his injured knee back in to shape in Miami. The receiver is well aware of those who say that he won’t return to the same form as he was in the past, citing his age and past history with severe knee injuries to players in their 30s.
On Friday, Wayne made it clear that he hears those whispers loud and clear.
“You guys motivate me,” said Wayne of the media. “You guys have said that I can’t do it. I’m 35. I’m ‘Over The Hill.’ No way I could come back the same. I wasn’t a big newspaper reader but now I’ve become one.”
Getting his fill of motivation, however, couldn’t detract too much from his rehab since the injury. While having the proper attitude wasn’t an issue, Wayne did admit that staying disciplined was perhaps the most critical thing when it came to getting workouts done.
“It’s the main thing,” said Wayne of discipline in his rehab. “You’re going to have those days where you really don’t want to get off the bed and rehab. But you have to be disciplined to go out there and do it.”
Wayne doesn’t believe that will be an issue for the rest of his rehab and expects to be on the field when the Colts open the season in September. He looks to contribute to a squad that will be in the group considered a Super Bowl contender and Wayne mention a number of times that he
“My definition of life is what happens when you expect something else so you’ve got to deal with it,” said Wayne. “If I want to continue to play football, I’ve got to go out there and grind. If I want to prove some naysayers wrong, you get out there and grind.
“I’m excited man. I feel great. I can’t wait.”
His body language said the same.