The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Sports

May 1, 2013

Colts Notebook: Sheppard happy to be in Indy

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS — SUPPORT FOR COLLINS: The Colts were unanimous in their support for NBA free agent center Jason Collins — who became the first male athlete in any of the four major American professional sports to come out as gay on Monday.

To a man, the players said they would support and accept any openly gay teammate in their locker room. But punter Pat McAfee went a little deeper than most.

He suggested there’s a generational gap between today’s players and the media and that sexual orientation isn’t a big deal amongst his peers.

“You might see it a little bit in the locker room, guys that have never met a gay person might say some dumb things early,” McAfee said. “But once you befriend a gay person, and once somebody gets in a locker room, you become a family. That’s the way I think it will be accepted in the NFL whenever it happens, and ignorance will be enlightened, and everything will be cool.

“I think it’s definitely a good thing. People will be comfortable with who they are. I’m definitely happy Jason Collins was the first guy to step up and do it because hopefully more guys will be able to get it off their chest, be comfortable and just live their life. That’s what it’s all about.”

WAYNE RETURNS: Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne is looking to join a rare club this season, becoming just the 13th player in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving yards at age 35.

To do so, Wayne will need to learn his third offense in the past three seasons. Indianapolis is switching to a new scheme featuring West Coast principles this season under coordinator Pep Hamilton.

Wayne said his teammates seem to be picking up the new scheme faster than they caught on to Bruce Arians’ vertical attack last season. But the new offense will take time to master.

“I take my hats off to those guys who learn new offenses every year throughout their careers,” Wayne said. “It definitely has given me some grey hairs, but it keeps me fresh, keeps me focused. I know one thing, I won’t get tired of boredom. There’s always something new that you have to learn. It takes away from the family time, but at the same time it’s pretty fun.”

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