Reggie Wayne’s Career With the Indianapolis Colts Comes to an End

And just like that, one of the last pieces remaining from a great era in Indianapolis Colts history is gone, and, if it wasn’t already, officially begins a new era.

The Colts announced today that 14-year veteran Reggie Wayne will not return to the team for the 2015 season.

Wayne, 36, was a free-agent coming into this off-season, and was told by the team that they wanted to go in a different direction at the wide receiver position.

With Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning leaving the team in earlier years, the last of that remarkable trio will now have to decide whether he wants to continue his career in another uniform, or hang them up for good.

Even before today, it was known that Wayne was contemplating retirement.

Will this news push him more in that general direction?

He is currently recovering from a torn triceps injury suffered during the postseason, and was coming back from a torn ACL that he suffered the year before in 2013.

His play looked to decline this year, as he posted 64 receptions for 779 yards and two touchdowns during the regular season, while good, were well below his usually great standards.

There also isn’t much of a market for 36-year old wide receivers coming off of injury out there. If Wayne were to return in 2015, it would have to be for a deal near the veteran minimum.

While the decision was a tough one, the Colts made sure to put emotions aside and do what was best for their football team.

“Reggie is one of the greatest men to ever wear the horseshoe, and we have been blessed to watch him play for the past 14 years,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a statement released by the team. “

“When he first took the field with us in 2001, we knew this day would eventually arrive. That reality is one of the things that makes pro football such a tough business. We feel this decision is in the best interests of the team and for Reggie as it will allow him to seek a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere if he so chooses. Reggie is beloved by the Colts organization and our fans and he will always be a part of the Colts family. I look forward to the day in the near future when our great number 87 enters the Colts Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Wayne, who spend his entire career in the Colts organization after being selected 30th overall in the first round of the 2001 NFL draft, ends his tenure as the franchise leader in games played (211).

He also is second in franchise history in receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,345), receiving touchdowns (80), 100-yard games (43) and consecutive games with a reception (134). For his career, Wayne ranks seventh in NFL history in career receptions and eighth in receiving yards.

“Everyone knows the greatness and history associated with number 87,” general manager Ryan Grigson said. “He truly is one of a small handful of players who really define the Colts as an organization. He was already a Hall of Famer in the making when <head coach> Chuck <Pagano> and I arrived in Indianapolis in 2012, but no one has contributed more, on the field and in this building, to our turnaround, our continued growth, and our overall success since then.”

“Reggie was the catalyst that sparked and ignited the team during our comeback against Green Bay in 2012. His gritty performance that day and that entire challenging season infused us all with the belief we could overcome any obstacle. His dedication and the example he set are second to none. We wish him nothing but the best in whatever new endeavor he pursues.”

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