Reggie Wayne admits he was close to leaving the Colts, and that he left money on the table to stay.
But even though the veteran wide receiver was retained to be a security blanket for rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, he’s still getting it done on the field.
The longest-tenured Colt has been targeted a league-high 40 times this season, and his 23 catches are the fourth-most in the league and the most he’s had at this point in the season in his 12-year career.
“He gets open,” Luck said, via Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star. “He has an uncanny knack for, when it’s a zone, [knowing] where the hole is going to be based on where the other routes are running. When it’s man, he’s got all the tricks up his sleeve.
“It’s an honor for me just to throw the ball to him.”
But staying in Indy was far from a given for the 33-year-old wideout, who had plenty of offers, and said he left “probably a minimum of $3 million” on the table.
“I was close. Very, very close,” Wayne said of leaving. “But just one team, probably two teams, Colts fans wouldn’t have liked.”
It’s thought one of those was New England, but Wayne grinned and said: “I’ll never tell.”
The three-year, $17.5 million contract, which included a $7.5 million signing bonus, might not have been the biggest he could have gotten, but there’s no place he’d have gone where he’d have been so needed.
“Oh, yeah, I knew I was,” he said. “I knew it was going to be like this, me and a bunch of new faces. Once we released all the guys that had been here for years, I knew it was going to be weird. . . .
“Sometimes I walk in this locker room and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ “But I knew what I was getting myself into. I would never have any regrets. I’m going to use this and run with it.”
And he’s still running, and catching, at a pace similar to when he played with another top-picked quarterback.