INDIANAPOLIS — Last week, Reggie Wayne said he's using "naysayers" in the media as motivation during his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
The 35-year-old wide receiver has 1,006 receptions for 13,566 yards and 80 touchdowns over 13 professional seasons. He's a six-time Pro Bowl selection and one day might have a spot in the Hall of Fame.
If there are outside doubts about whether he can return to that form because of his age and the severity of his injury, few are shared inside the Indianapolis Colts' locker room.
"I think there are exceptions to every rule," third-year quarterback Andrew Luck said. "I think Reggie Wayne is an exception to a lot of rules. We know he's going to come back and produce at a very high level, and we're all very excited about it."
Former New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was signed to a one-year deal in part to provide insurance against another setback for Wayne. But his name can be added to the list of those predicting a full comeback for the veteran receiver.
"He's working while we're working," Nicks said. "He's always still one of the first ones here. So I think, from that aspect, he's not losing anything. It's just a matter of when he can get back on the field and pick up where he left off at."
Third-year wide receiver T.Y. Hilton became a star in Wayne's absence last season. He caught 82 passes for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season, then set franchise records with 13 recepetions and 224 yards in the playoff victory against Kansas City.
A healthy return by Wayne and the addition of Nicks could cut into his production, but Hilton is excited about the possibilities.