While Sunday night’s 39-33 victory over Peyton Manning and the previously undefeated Denver Broncos was a huge win for coach Chuck Pagano and his up and coming Colts, the loss of wide receiver Reggie Wayne for the year is a huge blow for the team, and Pagano knows it.
According to Pro Football Talk, Pagano got a bit emotional when talking about his injured receiver:
I think everybody has heard by now and knows that Reggie suffered an ACL tear. He’ll be lost for the season. We hate to lose anybody, but this one stings. See, you just don’t replace guys like 87. Again, we hate to lose anybody, but he’ll be back. I know how he’s wired. I know what his DNA is. I know how he is as a man. Everybody is going to say no way, but after the conversation I just had with him, just wait and see. So, we’ll all put on the gloves for Reggie and we’ll help him get through this and get him back.
Last year when Pagano was battling leukemia, Wayne wore orange gloves to show support. The two have known each other since college, where Pagano was an assistant for the University of Miami and Wayne was a Hurricanes player.
Even though Wayne will miss the rest of the season, Pagano still believes he will remain a team leader:
He’s going to be there. He’ll miss, he’s going to have to go have something done surgically but I told him whether it’s on a stretcher, wheelchair, if we have to carry him in and out, he’ll be there every step of the way.
Pagano also added that young players should try to emulate the 34-year-old receiver:
He’s a pro through and through. It’s easy for those young guys because I told them just get in his hip pocket and follow and do exactly what he does on a daily basis. You want to stick around for a long time? You want to be productive? You want to write your own legacy? You want to be a guy in the National Football League and not an also-ran, not just a guy that collects a paycheck and stuck around for a couple years. You want to be a guy? Then just do exactly what Reggie does. From a leadership standpoint, mentoring standpoint, all those kind of things, it’s off the charts. He’s not the only one. We got a locker room full of guys like that. So, that’s why it’s so important. In talking to him, he’ll be away and have to get that thing fixed, but he’s going to be with us every step of the way and he’s got to be right next to us.