Ever since the Indianapolis Colts allowed legendary wide receiver Reggie Wayne to depart in the 2015 offseason, fans have called for him to eventually come back to the franchise and coach the team’s wide receivers. Today, the Colts announced that was partially coming true.
Starting Monday during Phase 2 of the Colts’ offseason program, Wayne joined the Colts as a volunteer coach, assisting wide receivers coach Kevin Patullo with the group.
Last November, Wayne tweeted that he was “starting to get that coaching itch.” This January, Twitter user @Colts365 asked Wayne if he would ever join the Colts’ coaching staff like his former teammate Robert Mathis did. Wayne answered that maybe he would one day if it was right. Mathis joined the staff as a volunteer last year after retiring and has since been hired full-time as a Pass Rush Consultant/Player Development.
Part of being a volunteer coach allows Wayne to get his feet wet and see if he really is interested in becoming a coach. If he finds that he really likes it this offseason, perhaps head coach Frank Reich and Wayne discuss a more concrete role on the staff.
The Colts could really use a player with Wayne’s expertise to help develop the team’s young receivers. He was a huge part of current Colts WR1 TY Hilton’s development when they played together from 2012-’14. Hilton has since made four Pro Bowls. The Colts have a ton of youth to develop, including the two receivers they just drafted over the weekend in Daurice Fountain and Deon Cain. Outside of Hilton, Ryan Grant and Chester Rogers, the other 10 Colts receivers have an average of 1.3 years of experience.
Wayne was one of the most successful receivers in NFL history, but it wasn’t because he was a superior athlete. He excelled because he was a technician, focusing on route running, hands, footwork and his overall mechanics. That’s the kind of knowledge the Colts need, as top-notch athleticism has essentially become a prerequisite for a roster spot moving forward.
Wayne’s body of work as a player gives him credibility in becoming a coach. He has been cemented into Colts lore. His 1,070 receptions, 14,345 and 82 touchdowns all rank second in team history behind Marvin Harrison, while reception and receiving yardage totals both rank 10th in NFL history.