It has been a rough week for Reggie Wayne, from a rough outing on Sunday (perhaps his worst ever game as a Colt) to the revelation that he has a torn triceps to the abundance of hot takes from fans, it hasn't been the best week in number 87's long career. But take a step back from the one game and realize that he's about to play in his 209th career regular season game as a Colt - something nobody else in history has done with the franchise.
That's right: Peyton Manning never did it. Johnny Unitas never did it. Marvin Harrison never did it. Jeff Saturday never did it. When Wayne takes the field on Sunday, he'll stand alone in Colts' history for most games played, breaking a current tie with Manning. In his career, he has caught 1,061 passes for 14,207 yards and 82 touchdowns. He'll certainly go down as one of the most beloved and storied Colts in history, and surely Lucas Oil Stadium will erupt into the "Reggie!" cheer this Sunday.
To play in 209 games period is a great accomplishment. To do so with just one team is an even greater one. It's one that not many players have had the opportunity to, not even Peyton Manning, and Reggie Wayne will be a Colt from the day he was drafted until the day he retires. That's rare and worth recognizing. The Colts' players and coaches certainly notice it and respect their teammate.
"It's just a testament to his passion and drive for the game, his love for this organization, this city, the community, his teammates, the locker room," head coach Chuck Pagano, who has known Reggie for a long time, said Wednesday.
Running back Boom Herron echoed Pagano's sentiments. "Man, that's amazing," he said, regarding Wayne's milestone. "That's a huge accomplishment for him. Me myself, I'm just honored to play with him and step on the field with a guy like him. I would say a future Hall of Fame player and just a great accomplishment for him."
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who has been very outspoken about Wayne's impact on him, said that, "I have a lot of respect for [Wayne]. I call him my big brother. He's a big brother to me. I love having him around, love to have him out there."
Andrew Luck reflected back to is rookie season, when Reggie Wayne choose to come back to the Colts' franchise when most thought he would leave during the rebuilding process. What would it have been like without Wayne there? "I don't want to think about that," Luck said. "I think he was so instrumental in my growth as a rookie; still instrumental I think in the growth of this team. I know of the leader he was that year, the leader he still is."
Even Wayne's longtime quarterback, who is now with the Denver Broncos, took time this week to reflect on the record that Wayne is about to break - which the quarterback just so happened to previously own. "The talent that he has, the work ethic, I think, combined with that talent has made him a special player, such a productive player," Peyton Manning said this week, according to ESPN's Mike Wells. "His durability, I think last year, I think it was against us, was the first time we've ever seen him get injured and miss any time, so he's been a true tough guy out there.
"He's a Hall of Fame receiver, in my opinion, five years after he decides to retire, you know, go down as one of the all-time great receivers, all-time great Colts. Great guy to play with, great teammate, heck of a wide receiver, too.''
There have been a lot of great moments in number 87's career. He caught Manning's lone touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLI, when he was wide open and hauled in a 53-yard score. He caught a couple of great scores in comebacks against the Texans (in 2008 and 2011). He choose to return to the Colts when not many people were. His performance in the ChuckStrong game was legendary. And that's just scratching the surface of an incredible career by one of the all-time great Colts. And this Sunday, when Reggie Wayne steps onto the field he will stand all alone in Colts' history as he plays in his 209th game.