Reggie Wayne on Peyton Manning: 'He's my brother. He's the enemy.'

Week 1 of the NFL regular season begins in earnest today and no one has to tell the Indianapolis Colts what that means.


The Colts open Sunday at Denver, and that means another go-around with Manning, face of the Broncos franchise today, face of the Colts the 14 years before that (1998-2011).

Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne distilled it all into six words.

"He's my brother," Wayne said. "He's the enemy."

It's a measure of the cold facts of NFL life that only three years after Manning left to quarterback the Broncos, a mere seven of his former teammates remain on the Colts roster. They are Wayne, place-kicker Adam Vinatieri, punter Pat McAfee, offensive lineman Joe Reitz, left tackle Anthony Canstonzo and two players who will not be in uniform Sunday.

Outside linebacker Robert Mathis is serving a four-game suspension for violating league policy on performance-enhancing drugs and defensive end Fili Moala is on injured reserve.

None will forget Manning or his impact.

"Greatness rubs off," McAfee said.

"Winning rubs off," Wayne added.

Castonzo was a rookie in 2011. He came to Indianapolis enthralled by the prospect of serving as Manning's blind-side protector, by the promise of Super Bowl rings and Manning-led glory.

Castonzo and Manning played not a single snap together. Their paths crossed not on the field, but in the training room. Manning spent the entire season rehabilitating from neck surgery. Castonzo worked incessantly to deal with the ankle injury that sidelined him four weeks and essentially left him playing on one leg for eight others.

Castonzo learned no less. He watched. He imitated.

His lesson: "Push yourself," he said.

That's the refrain.

"His work ethic; how to approach every day and find something to get better at every day," Reitz echoed.

McAfee wants to become the greatest punter in NFL history. So he studied the player he considers the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

"Exhaust yourself to become great and remain great. That's what I learned," McAfee said.

Those lessons were well learned. The Broncos were 6-0, averaging 44.2 points and hefty favorites when they arrived at Lucas Oil Stadium last October.

The Colts stunned them 39-33. McAfee considers that game a defining moment for a franchise heading in a new direction under new management with mostly new players. The Colts gave Manning a welcome back befitting a conquering hero. Then they conquered him.

"I think it was a huge deal for our coaching staff, owner, everybody," McAfee said. "It was just awesome for our city, for our team and most important for our coaches and the front office who had made the decisions to go forward (by releasing Manning and drafting his replacement, Andrew Luck)."

Wayne and Manning were teammates for 11 seasons. When Manning emerged during pregame to warm up by working through the route tree during the last several of those seasons, Wayne was his lone partner. He had earned the right. It was consummate professional throwing to consummate professional.

"Got to take care of my quarterback," Wayne once explained.

Wayne's quarterback on Sunday will be Luck. Wayne's brother will be his enemy, just as is the case when his path crosses with future Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed, Wayne's roommate for four years at the University of Miami and closest confederate aside from family. Wayne is 8-3 against Reed, who is currently a free agent.

"I want to beat him every time," Wayne said. "Once the whistle blows, you're their enemy. When the fourth quarter comes and it's all zeroes on there, now we can laugh and talk about whatever it is.

"That's just the attitude of a football player."


The Colts went 141-67 with him under center. They are 1-0 against him.

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