Wayne impresses Colts teammates in leadership role

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On third-and-9 from the Colts 21, Luck found Wayne for 15 yards and a first down. On third-and-15 from the Packers 47, Luck connected with Wayne for 15 yards and another first down. And on first-and-goal from the Green Bay 4, Luck found Wayne right in the middle of the field, and the guy Manning described in 2001 as having the strongest hands in the draft alertly stretched the ball over the goal line.

“Yesterday’s performance made me want to lead his Hall of Fame induction campaign,” rookie tight end Coby Fleener said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The Colts who have been around a while certainly have.

Wayne caught Manning’s first Super Bowl TD pass in the Colts‘ 2006 championship season, and when Harrison got injured early in the 2007 season, Wayne responded with 104 receptions, 1,510 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Last December, when the Colts needed to make a play in the final minute of their home finale, it was Wayne who made the spectacular TD catch to beat Houston in what he and others figured would be his final home game with the Colts.

Interim coach Bruce Arians is glad it wasn’t.

“You want to have a vet in every room that is a pro, that knows how to prepare on and off the field, and shows up on Sunday,” said Arians, a 20-year NFL assistant who called Wayne’s showing Sunday one of the top three receiving performances he’s ever seen. “I think we’re fortunate that we have one of those guys in every room, especially in that (receivers) room where we’re so young. … Having Reggie, especially with Andrew, the trust factor is huge.”

And so is the knowledge that he is passing along to the Colts‘ young players, the same way Harrison and Manning did for him more than a decade ago.

“You watch him yesterday, and that’s pretty much what we see in practice every day,” rookie T.Y. Hilton said. “You see someone work that hard for that long, and that’s what happens.”

Notes: The Colts waived tight end Dominique Jones and placed guard Seth Olsen on injured reserve Monday. Olsen has been designated as the player who can return later this season. Indy also signed receiver Kris Adams, who was released last week, to the practice squad.


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