Former Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne was back in Indianapolis last week for the Amp Harris & Reggie Wayne Celebrity Basketball Game and I had a chance to chat with him about the place he still calls home.
“It’s my home away from home. As soon as I get off the airplane and walk into the airport, it’s like a breath of fresh air. I love it here. I love the people here. I always have a great time here. My 14 years here, it was awesome. And so, I enjoy coming here.”
Likewise, it’s a breath of fresh air for Indianapolis to have Reggie Wayne back in town.
These days, he may not be playing football, but he’s still putting smiles on people’s faces.
“We know everybody has stories, everybody has tough times, and when we used to go out there on Sundays or Mondays or whatever and play games, our mission was to get those fans a couple of hours of something totally different. They can go to a game and enjoy the game and just smile. And that will at least give them a couple hours of something different. And that’s what it is now.”
And it still puts a smile on his face to do that.
“I enjoy going out, taking pictures, signing autographs, seeing little kids. I was one of those little kids growing up. And I remember growing up in New Orleans and seeing Saints players, I was the same way. So, this is one way of me giving back to them and just being involved in the community, especially here in Indianapolis. It was always special to me. So, it’s something I would always want to do and continue to do.”
Wayne says he still has all of his favorite places in Indy. He knows where to eat and where to enjoy one of his famous “adult beverages.”
“It’s all routine. And whenever I come here, I never want to change that. I enjoy it here. I love it here. I was this close from making my home here. I was this close… But, there was something about palm trees I just couldn’t turn down. So, I’m down there in South Florida.”
This last trip, Wayne had the opportunity to do something not so routine in Indy. He got to present the Indiana Black Expo’s Spirit Award to Chuck Pagano, the man he called coach at the University of Miami, in Indianapolis, and still does to this day.
But to Reggie Wayne, Chuck Pagano is much more than a coach.
“He’s a special guy. He’s a family member to me. I was honored to be there and help him receive the award. He didn’t know I was there. So, it was kind of like a surprise,” he says. “My mission was to try to get as many tears out of his eyes as I possibly can. I’m not sure how many actually came out, but I can promise you I got at least one or two out of him.”
In a few weeks, another of Wayne’s coaches, Tony Dungy, will be honored in Canton, Ohio.
“He’s the HOF, the Hall of Fame. That is awesome – along with Marvin Harrison. The Hall of Fame this year, it’s great for the Colts. And me being a part of those guys, it’s awesome. I’m going to be there. I’m going to be front and center. I’m excited for them. It’s well deserved on both parties. In my opinion, it’s a little late. They should have got it earlier, but who am I?”
Who is Reggie Wayne?
Only one of the most beloved players ever to wear a Colts uniform. And someone Colts fans would also love to see in bronze. But for now, seeing him in flesh and blood in Indy is also good.
And it’s something he says they’ll see more of.
“Once I got here, I realized I don’t come here enough. We’re going to change that. I’m going to make sure I make pretty rapid, frequent trips here. That’s on my to do list.”
You don’t need an event, Reggie, or even an invitation. The door is always open. And there’s an adult beverage waiting for you.
But don’t wait too long…
The ice in the glass is melting fast.