The adoring chants of "Reg-gie! Reg-gie! Reg-gie!" from the fans of Indianapolis were almost a thing of the past.
In an interview with Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, Reggie Wayne stated that he was "very, very close" to leaving the Colts, and that multiple teams were interested in his sure-handed services. At least two teams—the Patriots were rumored to be one—were entertaining Wayne with a new contract. Wayne also claims that he left "probably a minimum of $3 million" on the table. I'm not sure about that number, but I think Wayne definitely had some relatively juicier offers out there.
But even despite the temptation of some extra money, Wayne "promised" new coach Chuck Pagano and Jim Irsay that he would first give them a call.
And that's all it took for #87 to remain a Colt. Wayne re-signed a three-year contract for $17.5 million in March.
Fortunately for the Colts and Wayne, it appears to be paying off, per usual. Wayne, one of the last remaining veterans of the Peyton Manning era, and the current longest-tenured Colt, is off to a career start in 2012. Wayne's 23 receptions are good enough for fourth-best in the league, and it's the most catches that he's had after his first three games. Ever.
Although Wayne is in the twilight of his illustrious career, he still finds a way to get open, and Andrew Luck is thankful. Very thankful.
"He gets open," Luck said. "He has an uncanny knack for, when it's a zone, [knowing] where the hole is going to be based on where the other routes are running. When it's man, he's got all the tricks up his sleeve.
"It's an honor for me just to throw the ball to him."
The chemistry brewing between these two has been quite evident on the field; Luck has targeted Wayne a league-high 40 times, allowing the rookie quarterback to have a comfy and reliable security blanket. With the emergence of Donnie Avery as a consistent deep threat, T.Y. Hilton as an explosive playmaker in the slot, and Wayne still epitomizing the possession receiver, Luck has enjoyed some trusty options, old and new.
Back in March, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson claimed the Colts were going to "utilize" a fullback. Dominating fullbacks surely have their place in the league (Vonta Leach, anyone?), but this remark caused some fans to wonder about the length of Luck's rookie leash, including myself. However, after three games, it's clear that this offense will rely heavily on it's fledgling passing attack—Luck's 122 passing attempts is good for fourth-most in the entire league.
Talk about throwing a rookie quarterback to the wolves, eh?
But Luck can handle it, and he's been lucky enough to have a wiley, old veteran with a some pep left in his step to rely on.
"Reg-gie! Reg-gie! Reg-gie!"