When Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne received the stunning news that his coach, Chuck Pagano, was diagnosed with Leukemia, he went to his equipment personnel with a special request.
"I found out this week that orange was the color for (Leukemia) so I made some phone calls," he said. "I had our equipment guys make some phone calls to try and get some orange gloves. They were able to do that."
Pagano and Wayne have football history together. It began in 1997 when Wayne was recruited by Pagano to join the University of Miami. Fast forward 15 years later where both men find themselves in a familiar setting as coach and player in Indianapolis. Reunited in the NFL, the bond they share is stronger than ever. This was evident by Wayne's performance on Sunday afternoon against the heavily favored Green Bay Packers.
Wayne took the field, orange gloves in tow and completely terrorized the Packs' secondary with the most impressive performance of his career. The 12-year veteran made his ailing coach proud as he recorded a career-high 212 yards to go with a critical late game touchdown to defeat the Packers 30-27. The 212 yards were the second most ever in the Colts' 60 season franchise history, only behind Hall of Famer Raymond Berry who had 224 yards in 1957.
"To be able to come out and just do it for him, I said to myself I was going to lay it all on the line," said Wayne after the game.
Momentum swayed in the Colts' favor during the 3rd quarter when they climbed out of a 21-3 deficit after Wayne made one of the greatest catches many have probably ever seen. Beating Packers legendary safety Charles Woodson in a one-on-one match up, Wayne caught a one handed 30-yard pass on his fingertips that set up a field goal.
The whole game changed after that.
The Colts' followed and fed on Wayne's lead as the defense suddenly came alive when they sacked Packers QB Aaron Rodgers 5 times.
"He left it all on the field." said Colts linebacker Robert Mathis of Wayne. "We had to follow his lead."
Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck also thrived under the effect of Wayne's tribute as he threw 2 touchdowns to go with 362 yards in the air — the most in the No. 1 draft pick's career thus far.
The most dramatic scene remembered from this game was when the rookie QB and veteran WR connected in the game's final moments. Wayne's beastly 4-yard touchdown came with 35 seconds left on the clock. Lucas Oil Field's sellout crowd chanted: "Reggie, Reggie, Reggie" when all was said and done.
Wayne's explosive performance on Sunday was as emotional as it was spectacular. It was after all, "Reggie time."
Indianapolis improves to 2-2 while Green Bay falls to 2-3 on the season.
Zachary Hutton is the lead boxing writer and an NFL contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can see what he's up to at his band's website myunclethewolf.com or also subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: Zumapress/Icon SMI