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    Put Reggie Wayne in Hall of Fame, Colts Teammate Dwight Freeney Says

    Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney goes into the Hall of Fame next month. He wants teammate Reggie Wayne to join him there soon.

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    The early-21st-century Indianapolis Colts probably need their own wing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Next month, edge rusher Dwight Freeney will be the latest enshrined, joining executive Bill Polian, coach Tony Dungy, and former teammates Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, and Peyton Manning — who have all gotten in since 2015. Only the Bill Belichick-era New England Patriots are comparable in the recent past. Belichick will get his Hall call before the decade is up.

    Will Colts receiver Reggie Wayne — whom Belichick once called “a true professional who represents every positive attribute a player should emulate” and “one of the great NFL players of the past two decades” — be waiting to greet him in a gold jacket?

    Should Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne Be in the Hall of Fame?

    Wayne is the last deserving Hall of Fame candidate of Manning’s Colts who hasn’t yet been voted in.

    Wayne, who retired after the 2014 season, ranks in the top 10 in NFL history in catches (1,070) and receiving yards (14,345). He’s made the final round of Hall of Fame voting five times but has yet to receive the necessary 80% support from the selection committee.

    Will the sixth time be the charm? Freeney — who this cycle got in during his second year of eligibility — sure hopes so.

    “I think unfortunately for Reggie, you know, [people think] he was a product of, you know, Peyton and Marvin Harrison and how great they were, and people just can’t believe there could be another guy out on that field that was also as great as those guys,” Freeney said during a media availability promoting next week’s American Century Golf Championship Tournament in Lake Tahoe.

    “And I think, I mean, they get a little bit tired of voting in Indianapolis Colts offensive players.”

    If those are the reasons Wayne hasn’t gotten into the Hall, they’re bad reasons. Of the nine players with more career receiving yards — who have been retired for the necessary five years — only Steve Smith isn’t in the Hall.

    Anquan Boldin is the only other eligible receiver in the top 10 in career receptions without a bust in Northeast Ohio. Plus, three of Wayne’s five best statistical seasons came after Harrison retired, knocking down the narrative that he built his career on a bunch of single-team coverages.

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    But Wayne’s case for enshrinement goes beyond his stats, Freeney suggested.

    “Reggie was bigger than Marvin,” he said. “He’s more physical. If you had to throw up the ball and you needed somebody to, you know, kind of rustle around and make the catch, that’s Reggie.

    “Marvin left, you know, [and people] kind of said, OK, now it’s Reggie’s show. If he wasn’t good or he was a guy that was just there just because or succeeded just because Marvin was there, he proved everybody wrong.

    “His stats continued to go like this and he kept dominating when everyone knew, ‘OK, we gotta stop Reggie Wayne. Let’s roll the coverage, let’s double-team him, and he still did his thing. I know at some point, Reggie is going to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s just unfortunate for him that he has to wait as long as he has to wait, you know. And it’s not easy.

    “You got a lot of guys that deserve to be in and at that wide receiver position, sometimes it’s like a jam pack. You got so many guys that had so many good years and, you know, Torry Holts and Isaac Bruces when Isaac didn’t get in. And so hopefully, you know, next year is the year for him, but he definitely deserves to be there.”

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