This past week, I took one last vacation before training camp starts (two weeks from today), and from that point on football season begins to ramp up. We're gearing up for a long season that hopefully lasts into February for the Indianapolis Colts, and we're looking forward to it. Former Colts wideout Reggie Wayne has high hopes for the 2015 season as well, as he hopes to play this year.
On Friday, Wayne was presented with the key to the city of Indianapolis for his contributions both on the field and off of it in the community. During a press conference honoring Wayne, the receiver shared his plans for the 2015 season: he fully expects to play. Though the Colts opted to move on from him and not re-sign him earlier this offseason and though the 36-year old receiver has struggled through injuries in the past two years, he still plans to come back for one more season, though he's not quite sure where that will be.
"I want to finish how I know I can finish," Wayne said on Friday (per ESPN). He hasn't signed yet, but he did say that he has received several phone calls showing interest. "It's something I'm excited about," Wayne said of the 2015 season. "I really am. I guess in due time we'll figure out where it is."
Wayne wouldn't offer up details on which teams have called, but WRTV6 sports director Dave Furst reported that the Patriots, Ravens, Texans, and Packers are the teams interested in the wide receiver's services.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here you go-among the teams showing interest in former <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash">#Colts</a> WR Reggie Wayne: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Patriots?src=hash">#Patriots</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ravens?src=hash">#Ravens</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Texans?src=hash">#Texans</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Packers?src=hash">#Packers</a>. Broncos have backed off.</p>— Dave Furst (@DaveFurst) <a href="https://twitter.com/DaveFurst/status/622156340253880321">July 17, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The Texans could use a veteran receiver after moving on from Andre Johnson this year, and while DeAndre Hopkins, Cecil Shorts, and rookie Jaelen Strong are solid receiving options, Wayne would be a veteran presence and a possession receiver who could help the Texans in certain situations. Of course, one of the biggest reasons for Johnson's frustrations in Houston over his last few years there was the uncertain quarterback situation and bad play, and there are plenty of questions about the position again this year. Would Wayne choose to go to Houston - a division rival of the Colts and a team without a good starting quarterback option - if he has a choice?
The Ravens could also use wide receiver help, and Reggie Wayne could fit in nicely with their offense playing with quarterback Joe Flacco. Furthermore, he would be going to a team that many think could contend in 2015, and Wayne would help them out in that quest. He also wouldn't play the Colts in the regular season, though the two teams might meet in the playoffs.
Of the teams that Furst reported are interested, the Packers would likely be the team Colts fans are hoping he ends up with. Firstly, he would be in the NFC and wouldn't have to play the Colts in the regular season nor would his team be competing with the Colts for a playoff spot. The only possible meeting place for the Packers and Colts in 2015 is in the Super Bowl (which is a very realistic matchup), and that would certainly be a game filled with plenty of story lines. The Packers would give Wayne a good shot at winning the Super Bowl and would make it the easiest for Colts fans to be able to root for him and for their favorite team as well.
Lastly, the Patriots. Let's just be honest: it will be weird to see Wayne in any uniform other than the blue and white, but the one team that most Colts fans absolutely don't want the receiver to go to is the Patriots. For Wayne, though, it might make sense - they have a very good quarterback in Tom Brady and a very good head coach in Bill Belichick, and Belichick is a big Reggie Wayne fan (he tried to sign Wayne when he was a free agent in 2012).
Most Colts fans would want Wayne to end up with Peyton Manning and the Broncos, but according to Furst, that doesn't seem as likely. Instead, it sounds as if the Texans, Packers, Ravens, and Patriots are the teams showing the most interest. We know that Wayne wants to play in 2015 and that he has drawn some interest, but we'll just have to wait and see where he ends up. It's entirely possible that he won't sign anywhere for a little while until teams get into camp and realize just where their receiver situation is, and then realize that they could really use Reggie Wayne.
Though 36 years old and though he has struggled through knee, elbow, and triceps injuries over the past two years, he said on Friday that he feels as good as ever right now. "It's weird 'cause this is one of my best years as far as being in the best shape that I've been in a while," he said. "It's coming along great."
Hopefully Reggie Wayne, one of the greatest players in Colts franchise history, has a nice comeback season in 2015 - let's just hope it's not with the New England Patriots.