Being the No. 1 wide receiver is nothing new to Darrius Heyward-Bey. Before joining the Colts he spent four seasons with the Oakland Raiders and was at the top of the depth chart. Now that veteran Reggie Wayne is out for the year with an ACL injury it will be up to Heyward-Bey to be that kind of leader once again.
“I said something in the meeting room and then after that I do lead by example. I try to go about my business. Hopefully those guys just follow me and understand we got to work hard,” said Heyward-Bey.
“I think it’ll probably be more from a work ethic standpoint, practice standpoint. He’s always been a high-motor guy, high-tempo guy, brings a lot of energy out there. He’s not a vocal, vocal guy but more leads by example. I think now, the more plays you make and the more success you have on Sundays, I think that’ll just build the confidence and bring more of that out of him,” added Head Coach Chuck Pagano.
Heyward-Bey has 190 receiving yards and one touchdown so far this season, not monster stats but he’s only been targeted 34 times. That number will certainly increase without #87 on the field.
“I’m excited. I’m just ready to go out there and play. You got to love the game of football, got to love a challenge and we just got to go out there and play football and have fun.”
Reggie won’t be in the huddle but his influence is felt by the entire team, even for someone like Heyward-Bey who only played 7 games with the future Hall of Famer.
“I always looked at myself as a hard worker, but Reggie took it to a whole different level. I respect everything he did out there on the practice field and on game day. He doesn’t even like to come out in practice, so just seeing that, seeing that type of leadership, that’s what I took away from it,” said Heyward-Bey.
“Like I told him, he’s never been anywhere, until he came here, where he’s had the opportunity to be behind or have a veteran like Reggie in the room. Even his time in Oakland, it seemed like there were guys there and then they were gone and he was the lead dog, even as a young player. So like I told him and I told the rest of the guys, I said you guys were around the guy long enough. You understand from a practice standpoint, preparation standpoint, film study, all those type of things, you saw a future Hall of Famer do it for however long you’ve been here, so just emulate that,” added Pagano.
As for Wayne he had ACL surgery in Miami this week. He has an appointment to visit his doctor on Thursday to see when he may get back to Indianapolis and begin the rehab process.