Reggie roars into Colts camp
Reggie Wayne checks out his Colts racing helmet after arriving at camp in a two-seater driven by Ed Carpenter.
As grand entrances go, this one positively oozed symbolism.
Reggie Wayne roared into Colts training camp Wednesday morning at Anderson University in spectacular fashion, as the passenger in a two-seater IndyCar driven by Ed Carpenter.
Take your pick of racing metaphors: he’s been given the green flag, he has his wheels back, he’s feeling fast again.
They all apply. But perhaps most importantly, he’s no longer in the pits.
“I guess you could look at it that way,” said Wayne, a big smile on his face. “It’s just one way of showing I do feel fast, I do feel good. Hopefully I can go out there and pick up right where I left off.”
Just 10 months after surgery to repair a torn ACL, Wayne said he has been medically cleared for camp. Just exactly how much he will be on the field when practices begin Thursday morning remains to be seen but Wayne – like running backs Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw, tight end Dwayne Allen and offensive guard Donald Thomas – will be brought along at a cautious pace.
“I guess I’m my own enemy in this, you know?” Wayne said. “I have to be smart, listen to my body, not try to prove any points. The main objective is to be out there for the first game.”
Wayne has reported to past camps dressed in full fatigues riding a military Hummer, wearing a hard hat on a dump truck and in a helicopter.
But he said this was “by far” his most enjoyable entrance.
“I want one of these,” he said, looking down at the car. “I don’t know how I’m going to get one. I’m a guy that likes speed and this is one way to get that speed in me. So I enjoyed every bit of it.
“I think it’s a sign for the Colts as a team. I think this is a way of (saying) we need to come out fast. We need to have a sense of urgency. I need to come out moving with some speed. This is one way of entering camp with the motto for the team.”
It was a pretty cool moment for Carpenter, as well.
Carpenter and Wayne cruised the roughly 5 miles from the Scatterfield Road exit off I-69 to Anderson University and, as you might expect, raised a few eyebrows along the way.
“We had quite a ride,” Carpenter said. “Drove through some rain all the way up Scatterfield. We made it through a couple green lights but we hit mostly red lights so we got to stop everywhere and wave at people. I think everyone was figuring out what was going on at that point, but it was really cool. …
“I can’t imagine we went faster than 50 or 55. It probably felt faster than that to him, though. We probably could’ve gone 170 or so, but Scatterfield’s a little bumpy so it’s probably best we weren’t going that fast.”
With the lonely grind of rehab behind him, Wayne has cleared every hurdle in his comeback with relative ease. What remains is to take the field in full pads, play at full speed – and take those first few big hits.
“I’ve done everything I possibly can do to kind of emulate a practice, but it will be a little different when I get out there,” he said. “With defensive backs grabbing and pulling and tugging on you a little bit, it will be a little different but I’m excited for it. I feel like I’m ready.
“I’ve had trainers doing everything, pulling me, grabbing me, throwing me around to the point to where it’s almost gotten into some altercations. It’s kind of hard to rehab and to put all that into perspective, but at the same time it’s something I think I’ll learn from.”
There really was only one hole in the story told by this trip to his own personal victory lane:
Reggie Wayne takes a back seat to no one.