Reggie Wayne Considering Playing Next Season
By Evan Reller
Reggie Wayne will never play another game in a Colts uniform, but his NFL career might not be over.
The Colts announced on Friday that they would not offer Wayne another contract, essentially moving on from the second greatest receiver to ever don the uniform. Wayne was also adamant this past season that he would never play for another team.
According to Stephen Holder of the IndyStar, Wayne is apparently open to playing with another team. From Holder’s story:
"Now that the Indianapolis Colts great has been informed by the team that he will not be re-signed, a source with knowledge of Wayne’s plans says Wayne will give consideration to offers to play for other teams."
Wayne seemed to be leaning towards retirement late last season in multiple interviews. He cited missing his son’s football games and realized that his skills were declining.
The reality of the NFL is that players don’t often get to decide when they retire. Rarely do they win the Super Bowl and hang up the cleats like John Elway. It often comes down to injuries, something Wayne avoided for the majority of his career.
Wayne played 11 straight seasons without missing a single game, a rarity for a skill position player. He played in 189 straight games, the third-longest such streak by a wide receiver, before his ACL injury in 2013. Wayne played in 209 games for the Colts over his 14 season career and helped them win 142 games.
Wayne returned from the ACL tear and was on his way to another solid season before tearing his tricep in the middle of the year. His production dropped after that point and his ability to grip the ball took a hit. Numerous drops befell the once reliable receiver and he wasn’t the same Wayne fans loved for over a decade.
Wayne played out the year but recently had surgery to repair the tear in his tricep. Before not being offered another contract, Wayne said he was still mulling his options and genuinely seemed to be on the fence about returning for another season.
The possible end of Wayne’s career tightly mirrors that of Marvin Harrison. Harrison suffered a knee injury in 2007 that kept him out for most of the year. He returned for 2008 but wasn’t the same player. The Colts ended up cutting the future Hall of Famer with two years left on his contract. The 36-year old receiver retired after that season.
Fans may be disappointed that the team didn’t offer Wayne a new contract, but that isn’t as bad as cutting a player at the end of his career. Its clear that this wasn’t an easy decision as Wayne has been the most important player on offense during the transition to the Andrew Luck era.
Now Wayne might test the waters of free agency for the first time in his career. The problem is that the market for a 36-year old receiver with two recent major surgeries isn’t very strong. Wayne would likely be coming in as a mentor to a young receiving corps rather than a real contributor to a team’s offense.
Holder’s report can be taken with a grain of salt and in another week we could easily be talking about Wayne’s retirement and Hall of Fame chances.