• Wayne is just one of two first-year eligible players to make the finalist round this year, with Polamalu being the other. He is looking to become the first first-ballot Hall of Famer with significant Colts ties since running back Marshall Faulk in 2011.
Since 1970, 89.3 percent of all finalists have eventually been selection for induction, according to the PFHOF.
Selected by the Colts in the first round (30th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft, Wayne would go on to become one of the most beloved players in franchise history. He played 14 NFL seasons (2001-14), all in Indy, and in a franchise record 211 games, totaled 1,070 receptions for 14,345 yards and 82 touchdowns.
A six-time Pro Bowl selection and First-Team All-Pro in 2010, Wayne ranks 10th in NFL history in receptions and receiving yards; he’s tied for 24th in NFL history in receiving touchdowns.
He saved his best performances for the biggest of stages, however, as he caught 93 passes for 1,254 yards and nine touchdowns in 21 career playoff games; Wayne ranks third in league history in postseason receptions, and ranks fifth all-time in postseason receiving yards.
Wayne, whose long touchdown reception from Peyton Manning was a key piece to the Colts’ victory over the Bears in Super Bowl XLI, was also a member of the 2009 Colts AFC Championship team. He became the 15th inductee into the Colts’ Ring of Honor in 2018.
Wayne on Thursday night spoke with the PFHOF about the honor of being a finalist for this year’s class.
“Whenever you can be in a room amongst the elites of the elite, you’re already in heaven,” Wayne said. “This is what you want. Sitting up here, I’m talking to Jimmy Johnson, who coached at the U, Bill Cowher … Richard Seymour, we came in at the same time. I mean, this is what it is is all about, just fellowship and coming together, knowing we’re all waiting on the same thing — that knock.”
Wayne said getting into the Hall of Fame “would mean everything.”
“It’d tell me, for one, I did something right,” Wayne said. “And that was the whole for me: I just wanted to play the game the right way, have my teammates say, ‘You know what? Reggie was a great professional and an all-time teammate.’ To me, that’s all that mattered. So to get in the Hall, that just tells me I did it the right way.”