It's a sad day for Colts fans and the end of an era.
The Indianapolis Colts announced today that they will not be re-signing longtime wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who is set to become a free agent this offseason. Team owner Jim Irsay said that Reggie can seek to continue his career elsewhere if he chooses, but the receiver has said repeatedly that he will not play anywhere but Indianapolis. Either way, his career as a Colt is done.
He is the franchise's all-time leader in games played (211) and wins he was a part of (143) and he also ranks second in receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,345), receiving touchdowns (80), 100-yard games (43) and consecutive games with a reception (134). His receiving yardage total is good for seventh-best in NFL history and his receptions are good for eighth-best all-time. He made six Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro in 2010.
"Reggie is one of the greatest men to ever wear the horseshoe, and we have been blessed to watch him play for the past 14 years," team owner and CEO Jim Irsay said in a statement. "When he first took the field with us in 2001, we knew this day would eventually arrive. That reality is one of the things that makes pro football such a tough business. We feel this decision is in the best interests of the team and for Reggie as it will allow him to seek a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere if he so chooses. Reggie is beloved by the Colts organization and our fans and he will always be a part of the Colts family. I look forward to the day in the near future when our great number 87 enters the Colts Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
General manager Ryan Grigson agreed, saying that, "everyone knows the greatness and history associated with number 87. He truly is one of a small handful of players who really define the Colts as an organization. He was already a Hall of Famer in the making when Chuck and I arrived in Indianapolis in 2012, but no one has contributed more, on the field and in this building, to our turnaround, our continued growth, and our overall success since then. Reggie was the catalyst that sparked and ignited the team during our comeback against Green Bay in 2012. His gritty performance that day and that entire challenging season infused us all with the belief we could overcome any obstacle. His dedication and the example he set are second to none. We wish him nothing but the best in whatever new endeavor he pursues."
And head coach Chuck Pagano also offered his thoughts on the receiver. "My relationship with Reggie goes back to my coaching days at the University of Miami," he said. "He is the epitome of what a coach looks for in a player. Hard work, dedication, and sacrifice are just a few ways I would describe him. He encompasses everything that is right about this game, on and off the field. I am so grateful I had the chance to coach Reggie again when I arrived in 2012. It was a blessing to see the impact that he made with this organization and Colts fans around the world. I wish him all the best in the future and thank him for representing the horseshoe in the most professional manner."
Best of luck to Reggie Wayne in the future. He'll always be a Colt, and it will be super weird not seeing him on the field next season.