Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

October 22, 2013

Pagano: Colts will rally around injured Wayne

Knee injury ends veteran receiver's season.

(Continued)

A pair of Broncos collided on the play on which Wayne was injured, leaving the Colts receiver wide open. If Luck had been able to throw a better pass, Wayne might have scored a long touchdown.

The second-year quarterback was hard on himself in the immediate aftermath Sunday night, feeling responsible for the injury. His opinion hadn’t changed much Monday.

“I think I feel sick to my stomach about it a little bit,” Luck said. “But I also realize it’s football. I don’t think Reggie wants me holding it over my head that it happened. So, after the game though, a big part of me almost felt like it was a loss in a sense because of what happened to Reggie and my involvement in it.”

Pagano took the news as hard as anyone. He’s known Wayne since their days together at the University of Miami, and his hiring last season played a big role in the receiver’s decision to return as a free agent.

When Pagano was being treated for leukemia last year, Wayne donned a pair of orange gloves to honor the absent head coach. Now, Pagano said it’s his turn to return the favor.

“I’ll put the gloves on now,” he said. “He wore them a year ago. I’ll wear them now. And so will the rest of the team and coaches and everybody in that locker room. We’ll get him through this. Certainly, we’ll all be there and I’ll be there every step of the way with him.”

Pagano said Wayne will continue to be around the team and attend meetings after his surgery is complete. He also shot down any notion that the 35-year-old’s injury could be career-threatening.

“He’s not going out like this,” Pagano said. “He’s not going to leave the game like this. There’s no way. So he’ll fight. He’ll get his surgery, and he’ll rehab and he’ll grind like nobody’s ever grinded. And he’ll do whatever it takes to get back on that football field.”

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