March 7 is a very significant day in Colts history. It was on this date three years ago that the Colts made the stunning and previously unthinkable move to release legendary quarterback Peyton Manning. In an emotional press conference, Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning ended Manning's playing career with the Colts. That day showed more than ever that nobody is untouchable in the National Football League. And the NFL is a business, even with Manning and the Colts.
That's important to consider today. Not only are we three years removed from the greatest player in franchise history being released, we're just one day removed from the another one of the franchise's all-time greats not being brought back in wide receiver Reggie Wayne. The Colts announced on Friday that they will not re-sign the veteran and will be moving on.
Earlier today, the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder reported that Wayne will listen to offers from other teams in free agency, and then NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that Wayne is open to playing another year if a contender comes calling. ESPN's Mike Wells also joined the discussion, reporting that Wayne wanted to come back for one more season with the Colts and then retire. Wells also reports that the discussions between the Colts and Wayne never even reached the stage where they talked about money.
This whole situation is an interesting one, and here's a summary: the Colts won't be bringing back Reggie Wayne. It sounds like he might entertain offers from contenders, but retirement is still an option too. He has said publicly before that he would only play for the Colts and that it'd either be return or retire. It sounds like he wanted to return for another season in Indy but wasn't given the chance. And so now we wait, having yet to hear from Wayne himself. It's likely that he's still processing through things as he comes to grips with the fact that the franchise that he has known for the last fourteen years no longer wants him.
If Wayne had returned to the Colts, he would have come back on a one-year deal to be the team's third or fourth wide receiver. Maybe he was willing to do that or maybe the Colts weren't willing to make him an offer that little for a role so small. Not bringing Wayne back was probably the right move for the Colts to make on the field, but perhaps they didn't handle it in the best manner off of it.