Reggie Wayne nearing significant career milestones

File-This Oct. 14, 2013, file photo shows Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne making a catch while playing the San Diego Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Reggie Wayne is closer to the end of his NFL career than the beginning.

Though it’s difficult to tell by watching the 35-year old veteran on Sundays.

Wayne is the same, hardworking wide receiver that he’s always been — even after an ACL injury ended his 2013 season.

Wayne is one of the best receivers to have played for the Indianapolis Colts.

And now the 14-year veteran is on the verge of hitting some significant career milestones.

On Sunday, Wayne will play in his 200th career game — only quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Johnny Unitas have played in more games with the Colts.

And with three catches, he will pass Isaac Bruce for No. 7 on the NFL’s reception list.

And if he gets three catches, Wayne will continue his streak of games with at least three catches at 75.

Wayne also is 11th all-time with 13,754 yards. If he gets 24 yards Sunday, he will pass Henry Ellard for 10th.

“That just means you’ve been around a while,” Wayne said with a grin. “(The records) mean a lot, man. At the end of the day, to accomplish any of those kinds of records, or accolades, you’ve got to be around and available. Records are made to be broken, the longer I play I’m going to catch somebody else and at some point in time somebody is going to catch mine.”

Wayne is 145 yards behind Cris Carter for ninth and 250 yards behind James Lofton for eighth. From there, the next man up is former Colts teammate Marvin Harrison at seventh. Barring injury, Wayne could likely pass all three this season.

Wayne came into the league in 2001 and started learning from Harrison.

Now in a similar role, Wayne is making lasting impressions on the younger guys, in particular, Colts third-year wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.

“We got to get him his three catches and make sure he passes Isaac Bruce. His stats speak for themselves, he’s Mr. Reliable … he’s done it all. Watching him work his craft day-in and day-out, I’m just following his lead,” Hilton said.

“Anytime I get a chance to pick his brain, I do that. Our bond is so strong, on and off the field, we are always communicating with one another. Everything he does, I make sure I’m watching.

Wayne played for coach Chuck Pagano at the University of Miami while Pagano was an assistant coach. So, Pagano isn’t surprised when it comes to Wayne’s abilities and accomplishments on the field.

“You guys tell me about the milestones, am I shocked, no,” Pagano said. “You can’t have enough guys like Reggie in your locker room. He’s a consummate pro. It’s his love and passion for the game that he’s going to be one of those guys that is never going to feel like he’s ready to walk away from football. He’s great, he’s unbelievable.”

Wayne’s comments reflect his coaches praises.

“I want to (play) 200 more,” Wayne said laughing. “You want to do the best you can and play as much as you can. But at the end of the day, getting the respect from my teammates, that means a lot to me. That’s bigger than catches, touchdowns and yards.”

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