INDIANAPOLIS - Returning to the Indianapolis Colts for a 15th season no longer is an option to Reggie Wayne, but retirement isn’t his only option moving forward.
A source confirmed Saturday Wayne plans to at least listen if a contending team approaches him. One of the most prolific receivers in NFL history becomes an unrestricted free agent Tuesday. The Colts informed Wayne Friday they won’t attempt to re-sign him, ending their mutually-beneficial 14-year relationship.
Owner Jim Irsay wrote on his Twitter account he met with Wayne in Florida last Sunday to discuss Wayne’s future with the team. It apparently was at that time Wayne was informed the team would not be re-signing him .
“As Reggie and I met last Sunday thru that warm Florida night; I realized there’s a time warp called memories, where Father Time is not known,’’ Irsay wrote.
In a statement released by the team Friday, Irsay said the decision not to retain Wayne “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.’’
The source said Wayne’s desire was to sign a one-year contract with the Colts, then retire at the end of the 2015 season.
That won’t happen. If Wayne’s career continues, it will be elsewhere.
However, don’t look for Wayne to relocate simply to inflate his career statistics. He ranks No. 7 in NFL history with 1,070 receptions, No. 8 with 14,345 yards and No. 22 with 82 touchdowns. Those figures rank No. 2 in club history behind Marvin Harrison.
Wayne has appeared in more regular-season games (211) and participated in more victories (143) than any player in club history.
For Wayne to extend his career, it would have to be with a team with a legitimate chance to win a world championship.
In an extensive interview in December, Wayne stressed his intention to finish his career with the Colts, who selected him with the 30th overall pick in the 2001 draft.
“What I know I’m not going to do is go somewhere else and play for one year,’’ he said. “Nobody else. I don’t have the time to be dipping and dabbing, one year here, maybe one year somewhere else.
“Put a stamp on it. Stamp it. Colt for life.’’
Wayne said he was nearing the time when he had to start devoting more time to his wife and sons RoSean, Reggie Jr. and Rayden.
“My kids are my world. They’re the CEOs,’’ he said. “It’s tough, man. Kid’s growing up. It’s time for family decisions.’’
Wayne’s mindset obviously changed when the Colts decided it was time to move on without him.
He signed a three-year, $17.5 million contract with the Colts during the 2012 offseason, but only after listening to overtures from other teams. He admitted he “left millions’’ on the table to re-up with the Colts, who were transitioning from coach Jim Caldwell and quarterback Peyton Manning to Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck.
It remains to be seen whether there will be a market for Wayne.
Along with his age (36), he’s coming off an injury-plagued 2014 season that saw him finish with just 64 receptions, 779 yards and two touchdowns. His production declined precipitously after he tore his left triceps and injured his left elbow Oct. 19 against Cincinnati. He also suffered a groin injury Dec. 28 against Tennessee.
Wayne had only 17 receptions for 183 yards over the final six regular-season games and managed just one catch for 12 yards in the Colts’ three postseason games.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.
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