Reggie Wayne's torrid start makes team look smart

Reggie Wayne made a statement by ignoring the NFL's uniform policy and pulling on orange gloves last Sunday.

It was the right thing to do, a heartfelt gesture from one friend to another. Wayne was recognizing Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia.

This afternoon in the New York Jets' MetLife Stadium, the Colts receiver is expected to leave the orange in Indy.

"I may do it one more time, maybe the next home game,'' Wayne said, smiling. "I'm not sure if I'll be able to get away with it the rest of the year."

Normally, the NFL shows no tolerance for players who defy its strict uniform policy. In the case of Wayne, the league did not assess him a fine for the unapproved orange gloves worn for Pagano and leukemia awareness.

"I think one time, (the NFL will) let you slide,'' Wayne said. "Probably the second time, they'll give you a call.

"I want my kids to have a good Christmas."

He laughed.

"I don't want them to be looking at me crazy when it's Christmas time, wondering why they only have one present," Wayne said.

Trust me, he was playfully stretching the truth like a bungee cord. In March, Wayne re-upped with the Colts, signing a three-year, $17.5 million contract that included a $7.5 million signing bonus.

Regarding the contract, it's proving to be a wise investment.

Wayne is tied for fifth in the league with 36 receptions and third with 506 yards despite playing one fewer game than those ahead of him. His catches are the most by a Colt in the first four games of a season, while his yardage trails only Marvin Harrison (513 in 1999).

Wayne needs two catches against the Jets to become just the 14th NFL player to reach 900 in his career.

The torrid start, Wayne insisted, is "me being me. I don't feel like I'm doing something abnormal. I've felt like I've always been this way."

Jets coach Rex Ryan calls Wayne "a terrific player. He's always been an elite receiver in this league."

Ryan has noticed how interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has altered Wayne's role: He is moving around in the formation, even blocking more.
"He's doing some of the dirty jobs ... he's kind of taking that Hines Ward role that Pittsburgh had under Arians," Ryan said.

Perhaps, but rookie quarterback Andrew Luck is having no problem finding his go-to guy. Wayne has been targeted a league-high 60 times. That's 33.9 percent of Luck's 177 pass attempts.

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