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Reggie Wayne: Legendary Colts WR beginning coaching career

Reggie Wayne: Legendary Colts WR beginning coaching career
Reggie Wayne finished his 14-year NFL career with 1,070 receptions, 14,345 yards and 82 touchdowns. (Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

INDIANAPOLIS (BVM) – Reggie Wayne will forever go down as one of the Colts’ greatest wide receivers. He joined an elite offense led by Peyton Manning in the early 2000s, and was the perfect complement to Hall of Fame wideout Marvin Harrison.

Wayne continued to be productive as No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck took over the reins from Manning in the early 2010s. After retiring following the 2014 season, Wayne has found plenty to do, but staying close to football, and in particular, the Colts, has certainly been one of them.

Reggie Wayne’s Miami Hurricanes career

Wayne was one of three children who grew up in Louisiana. Although he also enjoyed baseball, Wayne began shining in football while playing at John Ehret High School in New Orleans, becoming a two-time all-state player. As a senior, he caught 10 touchdowns and had over 900 yards receiving. Being one of the top-ranked players in the state, Wayne earned an opportunity with the University of Miami where the wideout became a starter right away for the Hurricanes.

Reggie Wayne Miami Hurricanes football
Reggie Wayne finished his college career at Miami with a program-record 173 receptions. (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

As a freshman, Wayne broke a mark held by former Miami wide receiver Michael Irvin with a program-record 48 catches, adding 640 yards and two touchdowns as conference rookie of the year. He would double his touchdown total while putting up similar catch and yardage numbers as a sophomore but would miss two games after tearing his ACL.

After a down junior season in which Wayne caught four touchdowns but had just 486 yards, he rebounded to have his best season at Miami in 2000, going for 755 yards and 10 touchdowns. Wayne finished his college career with a program-record 173 receptions and had a streak of 36 consecutive games with a reception during his 45-game college career.

While at Miami, Wayne got to room with future NFL Hall of Famer Ed Reed and also played alongside his future Hall of Fame teammate with the Colts, Edgerrin James.

Reggie Wayne’s Indianapolis Colts career

With the No. 30 pick overall in the 2001 NFL Draft, Wayne was selected by the Indianapolis Colts as a complement to Harrison. Some thought he could have been taken earlier, but with a 40-time around 4.56 to 4.59, his draft stock slipped slightly according to Mel Kiper.

The sixth receiver taken in the 2001 draft class had a bit of a rough start to his career, going for just 345 yards in his rookie season as he battled an ankle injury. However, Wayne began to flash potential in 2002, grabbing four touchdowns to go along with 716 receiving yards as a part-time starter. 

Becoming a full-time starter in 2003, the 6-foot receiver continued his breakout, catching seven touchdowns. That season would also be the last one that the star receiver didn’t have over 1,000 receiving yards until 2011.

From 2004 to 2010, Wayne started every game for the Colts. He went for 1,210 yards and 12 touchdowns in a historic year for Manning and the Colts’ offense in 2004 and went for an impressive 10-catch, 221-yard, two-touchdown stat line in the team’s wild-card round game against the Broncos. 

Wayne had 2,365 yards and 14 touchdowns combined in the following two seasons and was a crucial part of the Colts’ eventual win over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI with a 53-yard touchdown. 

Reggie Wayne Indianapolis Colts NFL
Reggie Wayne helped lead the Colts to a victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. (Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)

Wayne came back to have perhaps the best season of his NFL career in 2007, leading the league with 1,510 receiving yards on 104 catches while scoring 10 touchdowns.

As Harrison declined and eventually retired, Wayne filled the Colts’ No. 1 receiver role, racking up a combined 293 catches, 3,764 yards and 22 touchdowns from 2008 to 2010. Wayne earned his fifth-consecutive Pro Bowl selection in 2010 and had a franchise record 15-reception game in Week 4 against Jacksonville that season.

The star receiver’s career would take a major turn in 2011 as Manning missed the entire season. Playing with the likes of Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Kerry Collins, Wayne still led the way for the Colts as he mustered 75 catches for 960 yards. As Luck entered the fray in 2012, Wayne had an incredible rebound season, earning his sixth Pro Bowl nod as he caught 106 balls for 1,355 yards and five touchdowns, proving he could still excel without Manning.

While he started the 2013 season out well, Wayne unfortunately suffered a torn ACL in Week 7 of that year, ending an incredible streak of 189 consecutive games played. Returning in 2014, Wayne played most of the season with a torn triceps and just wasn’t the same as his pre-injury self, catching just two touchdowns with 779 yards.

The Colts legend attempted a comeback late in training camp in 2015, signing a one-year deal to play with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. However, just days later, he requested a release from the Pats. After sitting out the 2015 season, Wayne retired, finishing tenth all-time in receptions (1,070) and receiving yards (14,345) while cracking the top 25 for all-time receiving touchdowns (82).

Reggie Wayne’s achievements and earnings

In 2011, Wayne was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame. A decade later in 2021, the former wide receiver was named an ACC Legend, being honored along with other former conference stars during the ACC Football Championship weekend last December.

Reggie Wayne Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor NFL
Reggie Wayne was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor in 2018. (Credit: Matt Kryger/IndyStar)

In November 2018, Wayne became the 15th player inducted into the Colts’ Ring of Honor, with former teammates Manning, Harrison and Jeff Saturday in attendance at the event. 

Wayne has now been eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame each of the last three years. He has been selected as a finalist all three times, but has not yet been part of a Hall of Fame class. 

Still, with how close he has already come in his early eligibility, it seems it will only be a matter of time until he gets in.

During his impressive NFL career, Wayne made around $65 million in earnings. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Wayne’s estimated net worth now is around $10 million.

Reggie Wayne’s retirement and coaching career

In 2016, the 43-year-old wide receiver joined NFL Network as an analyst for the network. He has continued to stay in tune with the league and his former team, immediately praising former teammate T.Y. Hilton in one of his first appearances as an analyst. In 2021, Wayne also joined Bleacher Report as a positional analyst for the NFL draft.

Yet, where Wayne is making his mark most now is through coaching. In 2018, the Colts legend got his first taste as he helped out Indianapolis as a volunteer receivers coach during training camp. It was at that time he knew that avenue could be his future.

With former Colts receivers coach Mike Groh taking the same position with the Giants in the offseason, there became an opening in Indy and an opportunity for Wayne. Retired in Miami and turning down similar offers in the past, Wayne finally felt like this might be his time. This past March, the Colts officially hired their former star as the team’s wide receivers coach. 

“He’s a winner,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said in a statement following the hire. “He’s a really smart player, a really motivated guy, very structured in how he works and what he does. And very analytical and intellectual in how he approaches the receiver position. So we’ve been talking about this for four years. The timing has not been right but now the time is right. So really excited for what he’s going to bring to the room and to the team.”

Wayne has his hands full with a young wide receiver room, but one that features plenty of talent. Michael Pittman has shown some flashes of dominance across his first two NFL seasons and will lead the receiver group in 2022. Parris Campbell has had trouble staying healthy early in his NFL career, but his speed and ability continue to make him an intriguing prospect. The Colts also selected Cincinnati receiver Alec Pierce No. 53 overall in April’s draft, expecting him to complement Pittman, just as Wayne did for Harrison when he entered the league two decades ago.

Reggie Wayne Indianapolis Colts NFL
Reggie Wayne is now passing his knowledge on to the next generation as the Colts’ wide receivers coach. (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

The Colts will also feature a new quarterback at the helm in 2022 in veteran Matt Ryan who was acquired from the Atlanta Falcons. So far, Wayne has been pretty impressed with the new signal caller, seeing similar qualities to that of his former quarterback in Manning.

“It makes me almost want to throw up because he reminds me of Peyton so much,” Wayne said to reporters in May. “He’s the epitome of a leader. In meetings he’s vocal, he’s trying to get connections with the receivers, trying to get extra as much as possible.”

Just months into his coaching tenure, Wayne has shown plenty of passion and energy that is drawing rave reviews from the rest of the Colts’ staff.

“Reggie’s been unbelievable,” Reich said early in training camp. “I cannot tell you how fast an adjustment he’s made to the coaching life. He’s had an impact in that room already, you can see it. A couple of things technically that he brings to the table, the way he’s teaching them to get in and out of breaks, I think. I see it, I saw it in OTAs. I feel like we’ve gotten better and then, I just think the air of confidence that Reggie has and that he’s played and played at such a high level.”

Following an elite playing career where he helped the Colts to a Super Bowl title, Wayne will now try to do the same as a coach.

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