When Reggie Wayne tore his ACL on an errant pass from Andrew Luck in the Indianapolis Colts Week 7 upset win over the Denver Broncos to spoil Peyton Manning’s return to Indy, the Colts lost a veteran leader and their No. 1 receiver. But when Wayne returns to the team for the 2014 season, he might not be the team’s No. 1 guy. Not only are their worries about Wayne declining and losing more speed and explosion following an ACL tear at the age of 35, but, more importantly, T.Y. Hilton has turned into a massive threat before our eyes. Hilton’s always been good, but he looks poised to jump to a whole new level and become a No. 1 receiver for Luck and the Colts, especially after watching him dismantle the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round.
Wayne will be there, though, and he’ll continue to be a huge part of the offense. Hilton looks ready to make the jump and be a top-notch receiver, but consistent production isn’t a sure-fire thing yet from the explosive, young wideout. Having a solid veteran across from Hilton greatly helps, and Wayne’s return would give Luck a truly reliable possession wideout in the offense.
So how exactly is Wayne’s recovery from the ACL tear going? According to Colts beat writer George Bremer, Wayne stated that everything is “good” thus far. That’s great news, and it puts Wayne on track for offseason reps and what should be another solid 2014 campaign. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if 2014 is the year of T.Y. Hilton and Dwayne Allen, who would have made a huge jump in 2013 had he not suffered a season-ending injury early on.