FOXBORO — A media crowd of 50 reporters and cameras huddled around Reggie Wayne‘s locker Tuesday at Gillette Stadium before his first practice with the Patriots.
At 36 (37 in November), Wayne wants Patriots fans to know he feels he has enough left to make an impact with Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. His message?
What left? “Like I have enough to play. If I didn’t think I had anything left, I wouldn’t be here. One thing I don’t do is worry about what people say. If I didn’t play at all, if I decided to retire, they still would have something to say. I can’t do nothing about that. Only thing I can do is let my work speak for itself. I know what I can do. I know what I can bring to the table.”
Wayne said after 14 seasons in the NFL, he never considered retirement this summer.
“No, not at all. I’ve been training since May,” Wayne said. “I’ve always had that feeling I was going to play. It was just finding out what the best situation was for myself. I had some options but I feel like I made the right decision.”
As for a message to Colts fans who feel betrayed that he’s left for the hated Patriots?
“No time for that right now,” said Wayne, who could return to Indianapolis in Week 6. “I would believe I left on good terms. As far as Week 6, I don’t even see that right now. Right now, I’m worrying about today and getting better and trying to figure out this playbook and figure out my way around this maze. And when that time comes, it comes.
“I knew I was going to be behind the eight-ball. I was sitting at home in Miami and just constantly getting that itch. And the longer I waited, the harder it was going to be. I think it’s right on time. I have to go back to school and try to figure all this out.”
Wayne says there’s no comparison between the Colts playbook under Manning and Luck with the one he’s been given in Foxboro.
“Nope. No comparison,” he said. “That’s makes it even worse but I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m excited about the challenge. All the guys have welcomed me with open arms. It should be sweet.”
Wayne said this chance in Foxboro is not about proving anything to anyone.
“I just want to finish healthy, finish strong,” he added. “Last year, I played the whole year injured, from Week 1 to the end. I know what I can do. I know what I’m capable of and I’m just grateful for this opportunity, and that the New England Patriots organization has welcomed me in.”
Wayne, a candidate for Canton down the road, will focus on working with Tom Brady, after a career with Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.
“I’m excited. I really am,” Wayne said. “Again, one of the best to ever do it. Tom has definitely welcomed me here. It’s outstanding. Not everybody can say they’ve had this journey I’ve had. I’m excited about it and looking forward to it.
“I talked to [Brady] briefly because I’ve been so busy studying. I talked to him. He was excited to have me here. He’s looking forward to us partnering up. I told him, ‘I know I’m a little behind. I’m going to do my best to catch and during practice when you want to go to the side, I’m all for it.'”
He’s also good with giving up his No. 87 that he wore in his days with the Colts since a certain tight end by the name of Rob Gronkowski wears it for the Patriots.
“It’ll be all right,” Wayne said. “I would assume you make the number but it’s a new place, new journey, new path, new number. I don’t know yet. I think I’m going to figure that out once you guys leave. We’ll see. I’m not sure exactly yet. He can have it. He can have it. 87 is over with.”