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ANDERSON, Ind. – Wide receiver Reggie Wayne(notes) spent the offseason asking the Indianapolis Colts for a new contract. While he didn’t get it, that didn’t stop him from getting in the best shape possible for his 10th season with the Colts.
Now 31, Wayne has posted six consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards. He will likely surpass the 700 mark in career receptions early in the season (he has 676).
He stopped to chat last week:
Reggie Wayne: After 10 years, you tend to know somebody pretty good. It's scary that sometimes I know what he's thinking before he says anything. So it's like you say, sometimes it just takes him to give me a look or a nod of the head or we’ll be in meetings and he'll say something like, "Reggie, you remember two years ago against Green Bay how we did it?" And I'll remember. After so much time and doing it over and over again I guess we're married, I don't know.
Cole: Keith Jackson, the former tight end, said that one time when he was playing with Dan Marino, a situation came up that they had never worked on. He felt he knew how Marino would react and went a certain direction. As soon as he turned around he saw the ball in the air already. Is it like that with you and Manning?
Wayne: Yeah that's happened before. It's happened quite a few times, really. Normally, Peyton might throw a ball into a certain window, but I might adjust to how the defense is playing me or the formation and Peyton will have the ball in the air already, so I better get my head around right away or it’s probably going to knock me out. It's scary sometimes how we click, but that just goes to show you the extra time and effort we've put into it. Some things go without being said, it's already understood.
Cole: Have you ever been around anyone in your career, even going back to the University of Miami, who worked this hard at the game, even after 10 years, 11 years of doing it?
Wayne: You know what, a lot of people might disagree with me, but believe it or not, I am a huge fan of Ken Dorsey(notes). Ken Dorsey is a baby Peyton. … In his college days, Ken was always in the film room, he was always willing to do extra and he wanted to go out and win. You could tell just by his work ethic that he wanted to be good. I tell Peyton all the time, "You look just like Ken Dorsey." That's as close as I can get. Still, they’re thousands and thousands of miles apart.
Cole: Have you lost weight?
Wayne: Since the Super Bowl, I've lost 14 or 15 pounds. I weigh about 191 [pounds] now.
Cole: What's behind the thinking for losing weight?
Wayne: I'm getting older. I just wanted to come in light. My goal every offseason is to be 195 coming into camp. Normally I start in June, trying to get lighter, but I actually started earlier this year. So I knocked off a couple more pounds.
Cole: What did you do?
Wayne: Just eating good. I ate a lot of fish, a lot of chicken. Stayed away from the fried [food], which is awfully hard. I feel good, I feel quick.
Cole: Have you picked up a step?
Wayne: I would hope so. Normally, after the first practice you get a compliment from coach, Peyton or somebody, like "You look quick." So that says you're on the right path. I'm going to try my best to keep it down at that level, but my problem is, when it starts snowing in Indy, there ain't nothing to do but eat.
Cole: Aside from fried food, what else did you give up?
Wayne: I didn't eat after 7:30 [p.m.]. That was hard. Going to bed hungry is not fun. … I made sure I ate by 7:30. I was able to do that, the best thing is to just go to sleep.
Cole: Are you asleep by midnight or do you stay up later than that?
Wayne: I wanna say midnight, it will be 1 or 2 (a.m.) and I'll still be up. I guess that's all the years of hanging with Edgerrin James(notes), because you don't get much sleep with him. But I try to be asleep by midnight and then wake up in the morning and start a routine all over again.
Cole: Your contract situation was obviously a point of discussion in the offseason. How are you handling it now that you're in training camp?
Wayne: There's not much I can do. I can speak my mind, I can speak my piece, but it's all a chess match. You move, he moves. You take my pawn, I'll try to take your pawn, until somebody gets checkmate. That's just the way I look at it. I look at it as I am at the 15th, 16th or 17th highest-paid receiver. I know how much my worth is and it's all business. If I buy a house for $1 million and try to sell it a couple of years later and it's worth $3 million, I'm not going to sell it for $1 million. I'm going to sell it for all it's worth. I feel like I have improved in value, but that's my opinion. I still have two years left on my contract. I'll go play those two years and then keep going.
Cole: What's going on at the University of Miami these days?
Wayne: Same old, same old. They say they're supposed to win the ACC this year. I feel like they've been playing with their young guys enough that those guys will step it up and start winning so they get some more recruits in there. That's what happens down there in Florida. They got three powerhouses down there and the kids are going to go to the school that's winning.
Cole: Is it a little rough when Florida is playing that well these days?
Wayne in his U days.
(Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
Wayne: It is, but that's the way it goes down there. It goes in waves. One year it will be Florida State, one year it will be Miami, and then for a while it'll be Florida. It just seems like after four or five years, it turns. It's like a new club in a city. For the first couple of years, that club is off the chain. Then, the next few years, somebody comes up with a better club and everybody starts going to that club. I went down there and worked out with them. They're not that far away. They kind of reminded me of when I started there my freshman year, we're 5-6. Then we were 9-3, then 9-3 and we really started going.
Wayne: He's good so far. He's the type of guy who's a real competitor. He came in ready to work hard. He's made some good plays, caught a couple of deep balls. He's typical Gonzo. He's really a factor; every time he catches the ball he makes somebody miss some kind of way. It's training camp, and everybody was sitting back waiting to see how he's going to be. It's exciting.
Wayne: Yeah, but I feel like Gonzo, if he had been healthy, would have been making those plays, too. I think they both have the ability, our whole team has the ability, to make plays if given the opportunity. For a lot of guys it's playoff atmosphere.