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October 5, 2012

Wayne shares a special bond with Pagano

INDIANAPOLIS —

There's probably nobody closer on the Indianapolis Colts roster, in terms of having an extended history, with coach Chuck Pagano than wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
 
First, Pagano was the defensive backs coach at the University of Miami when Wayne was a player there. In fact, Pagano was one of the coaches who helped entice Wayne to attend the "U."
 
Years later, with Wayne firmly entrenched as one of the Colts' premier offensive threats and Pagano serving as the defensive backs coach and then later as a defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens, their friendship continued.
 
"I remember Reggie speaking to me on the sidelines during games, talking a little trash and then smiling," Pagano recalled last spring. "I would talk to him too. We had a lot of fun with it."
 
So when news came earlier this week that Pagano had been hospitalized with a rare form of leukemia, it hit Wayne especially hard.
 
“Everybody has dealt with it their own way. I can’t speak for everybody. I can only speak for myself. I’ve known Chuck for 16 years so it’s a tough deal for me. At the same time, it pushes me to want to go out there and give it everything I got," he said after Friday's practice.
 
"It puts everything in perspective. We still play a kid’s game. People living out there with life decisions every day. It just pushes me more and more to go out there and play hard and give it everything I’ve got. And in some kind of way bring home a game ball for him.”
 
As tough as it is, Wayne is trying to keep things in perspective.
 
“Like I said, we look at it differently. It’s still in your mind but when you’re in between the lines, you have to focus on the task at hand. If you don’t, then bad things happen. Either you hurt your team with something or you get hurt yourself," he added.

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