Yesterday, I spoke with Reggie Wayne.
I wanted to let the initial interview stand alone, but do have some thoughts and analysis to share.
It's a challenge to interview someone like Wayne as both a fan and a professional. I don't care much for long-standing journalistic tenants. My motto is to tell the truth. Had I tried to interview Wayne as if he was a candidate for city council, it wouldn't have been authentic. I made a conscious choice to be as warm as possible. Wayne made that easy.
I found him to be thoughtful, engaging, and he worked very hard to connect to the kids. I was impressed with him. He seemed genuine and engaged. However, after watching him do interviews, I noticed how easy it becomes for him to fall into rote answers. My decision to ask him about issues other than Peyton, Pagano and free agency was intentional. I hoped to get answers with more personality if I asked other questions. Had I had an hour to sit and talk with him, there were plenty of things I would have asked, but five minutes goes by quickly. My goal isn't to break news or get a quote. My goal was to find insight into Reggie Wayne as a person. I think that is more interesting to fans and readers.
In the end, I was thrilled by his answers. I was struck by his answer to the question about Garcon. He legitimately cared about Garcon's feelings about not leading the team in receiving yards. Frankly, that was astounding. Wide receivers are known for being selfish and petulant, but Wayne came across as neither.
His answers to the Harrison question were frankly more than I could have hope for. Harrison has been reinterpreted by some in recent years, but Wayne squelched those efforts with a heartfelt endorsement. I don't know if it's clear on the video, but there was real emotion in his eyes and voice as he talked about Harrison. For him to say that there were things Marv did that he couldn't do was astounding. People forget just how amazing Harrison was.
In the other interviews, it was clear that he was very excited about Chuck Pagano. His relationship with Ed Reed is well known (former roommates), and the affection the Baltimore players have for Pagano certainly made an impression on Reggie.
Wayne came across as being all in committed to Indianapolis. He's always been known as a team leader, but that came into sharper focus after listening to him. He actively wants to be back, and the team should consider the intangible value he brings. There are limits to how much you can pay a 34 year old wide out, and they can't sign Wayne at any cost. However, if he can be brought back reasonably, he should be.
At the end, I thanked Reggie for his years in Indy. I honestly don't care if that was professional or appropriate or not. It was the right thing to do. Reggie Wayne is one of the pillars of the Colts, and will be remembered as a legend in this town. I personally owed him a handshake and a thank you. There are lines fans who double as journalists shouldn't cross (autographs being an obvious one), but thanking a great player and servant of the city with a hand shake isn't one of them. I can't expect honesty from an interview if I'm not willing to be honest about how I feel about the subject.
I admire Reggie Wayne the football player, and respect Reggie Wayne the person.
I'll post more footage and stills from the event soon.
@NateDunlevy loved this when I first saw it. Really showed #87 love of Indy and Colts. So pumped he is staying around. It's a good day.
Mixed feelings. Love Wayne and all he's done for the franchise, but we can't afford to pay him top receiver money, and I think there are bigger concerns for re-signings. Would hate to see Wayne go, and hope he's more likely to stay for less money after the Pagano signing, but in the end, he has to do what's best for him and his career as well.
We love you, Reggie! Future hall of famer, no doubt.
Love your insights, Nate, and the fact you don´t disguise at all you´re primarily a fan who loves the Colts and the players because of the emotions they have brought to you. Your interviews are always incredibly enjoyable, I can´t tell you enough how wonderful the work you do is for us. This chance to see Wayne up close in what could be the end of his days as a Colt must have meant the world to you, so thanks for sharing it with us. Wayne is just such an important part of the Colts, and it´s heartening to see he´s the real deal all around.
@18to88 @ excellent stuff Nate. Thanks for sharing. I really liked that you didn't stick to the stock media questions. I bet Wayne did too
Really torn here...
What is that stupid adage that if you love someone let them go... I'd almost like to see Reggie go some where that he could play for a contender that last few years of his career.
@DougEngland In this case it's easy. He doesn't want to go. If the price is reasonable, there's every reason to bring him back.
@18to88 Outstanding job, Nate. Here's hoping you get to do more of these interviews.
DZ, that was an excellent interview. Classy and penetrating without crossing borders, I liked that you steered clear of the obvious hot button issues, I'm pretty sure if you had more time he'd have opened up on that as it look like he was comfortable with you as time went on. Good work and thanks man.
I'd like to keep him, but I don't know if it's possible with the cap unless Wayne takes a very small deal. I'd love to keep him around, but at this point he's declined enough that's not worth the big bucks, in my opinion. He's still a very solid #2 guy but I think his days of being a #1 WR have passed him.
The Colts should try to keep Wayne at least at a slight premium over fair market value. That might not be enough to keep him but they should value him there. His value to Luck would far outweigh an equivalent talent at WR at the same price.
Your personal thank you at the end was great. Had to be done. Good stuff.
So has anyone detailed the salary cap breakdown of what's available if/when Manning is cut? That step would obviously open up some space, but how much (maybe this has already been written and I've missed it)? How many dollars are there for Wayne, Mathis, Garçon?
After yesterday's presser and Pagano mentioning Reggie so many times (and telling stories about him)...I'm much more confident that he will come back
Having him would obviously help develop Andrew Luck and he is a great guy in the locker room...and with Peyton leaving, we can give him the money he wants
So yeah, yesterday was a punch in my mouth realizing that Peyton is leaving and there's nothing we can do about it...But I'm very happy that at least Reggie might stay