EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It was one of those moments that was talked about as it was happening, shortly after it ended and inside the locker room after the Indianapolis Colts' 40-24 victory over the New York Giants.
Veteran Reggie Wayne, the player who continues to put in the time to do everything he can to lead the Colts and also play on the field every week, stood along the sideline with tears slowly coming down his face as the national anthem was being played and a gigantic United States flag was on the field at MetLife Stadium.
Wayne couldn't stop the tears because he didn't want them to stop. As much as he doesn't like to talk about it, Wayne knows his career, one where he'll likely end up in the Hall of Fame, is coming to an end sooner or later.
That's why he let the emotions get the best of him and he embraced each second of that moment as the national anthem was being played.
"It finally caught me," Wayne said. "I've kind of hid it other games. I'm truly blessed, 14 years and still here, playing a kids game. I've dreamed of playing in the NFL since I was 7 years old and I'm still playing. It's a prime-time game, the bright lights, great teammates, great coaching staff and great organization. It couldn't get any better than this. Each game it hits me. You never know when it's going to be your last one. Your life expectancy is 3 1/2 years. Fourteen years for me. I've done beat that. I'm just blessed to be out there each game giving everything you've got. I just want to lay it on the field."
Wayne played in all 16 games in 11 of his first 12 seasons, but injuries have impacted him the past two seasons. He tore his ACL in Week 7 of the 2013 season and then he missed the Oct. 26 game at Pittsburgh with an elbow injury.
"I've been fighting some injuries and I've been busting my hump to get out there," Wayne said. "Just being able to defeat some odds, whatever those odds were, to be out there with my teammates. You get emotional. An old wise guy told me you shouldn't hold back your tears; if you have tears coming let them out. Tonight was the night with the tears."
Wayne showed he still has something left in his 35-year-old legs when he caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Luck in the third quarter Monday.
"Sometimes you have to floor it and see how much juice you have left," Wayne said. " It was an opportunity for me to make a play. T.Y. [Hilton] gave me some help with a big block. The rest was just like a dog was chasing me."
Colts coach Chuck Pagano joked, "He looked like he had feet like a shore bird running down the sideline. It was awesome. There are so many guys with what he's got and what he's dealing with, there's no way they could do it, especially at his age."