We watched him grow up in Marvin Harrison’s shadow, then bring other players up under his own.
A team player in every possible way, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne didn’t need social media to connect with his teammates or his fans.
Before the start of every home game, Reggie would trot over to the northwest corner of Lucas Oil Stadium, affectionately known as Wayne’s World, and salute the fans.
In return, Colts fans had a chant: “REG-GIE…REG-GIE…REG-GIE!” They used it often…in recognition, in celebration, and in love.
As much as Peyton Manning was the brain of the Indianapolis Colts, Reggie Wayne was the heart. He pumped blue blood through the veins of the organization, the players, and the fans.
In an age where athletes are often subjected to (and subject of) bitter and hateful sentiment, Reggie Wayne was an anomaly. No one disliked him. No one had an unkind word to say about him. There was nothing to say. It was nothing but love.
On Friday, news that the Indianapolis Colts would not resign the 36-year-old Wayne left Colts fans saddened. We weren’t ready to say goodbye. But then again, we were never going to be.
Bidding farewell to Reggie Wayne is yet another reminder that above all else, the National Football League is a business. And that sometimes the business side of the NFL can be tougher than the playing side. This is one of those times.
We’ll feel a loss when training camp rolls around and there’s no Reggie to make a grand entrance by tank or helicopter or IndyCar.
There will be a gaping hole in our hearts when Reggie doesn’t come running out of the tunnel during the first Colts home game.
And the lack of “REG-GIE…REG-GIE…REG-GIE!” chants filling the air at Lucas Oil Stadium will be deafening.
What we had with Reggie Wayne for 14 seasons was special, unique, and irreplaceable.
How do you say goodbye to a player like Reggie Wayne? Don’t even try.
Instead, say thank you. And cherish the memories we made with one of the most accomplished and beloved players to ever wear the horseshoe.
Forever a Colt. Forever our heart. Forever our Reggie.
Nothing but love.
Thank you, Reggie.
You never forgot us.
And we’ll never forget you.