For years, he was one of New England's most dangerous rivals in Indianapolis. Now, Reggie Wayne is a Patriot.
The team reportedly signed the veteran wide receiver to a one-year deal on Monday, while placing veteran wideout Brandon Gibson on injured reserve with a knee injury sustained Saturday against New Orleans.
Wayne joins a Patriots receiving corps that has been depleted by injuries this summer, and his arrival comes not a moment too soon.
"He's a professional," wide receiver Danny Amendola told reporters Monday afternoon. "He's a good player. He's played at a high level for a long time on some really good football teams. We're excited to have him."
"I know him well from playing with the Colts and Peyton Manning," remarked cornerback Malcolm Butler. "Just a guy who's been around a long time and been productive. I'm looking forward to it. I never thought I'd be playing against a guy that I've been watching for a long time. But glad to have him. Time to get to work."
Veteran cornerback Tarell Brown has only faced Wayne once in his NFL career, but that encounter left an impression on Brown.
"Very crafty guy," he recalled, "someone who understands what defenses are trying to do. Somebody who can play in any system. Somebody who can make a lot of plays.
Somebody who's proven, made a lot of plays in this league. Excited to have him on the team.
"Obviously, he's doing something right, being able to have this type of longevity in the league and being as productive as he's been. He'll definitely help us out a lot."
Wayne's arrival likely would not have happened had it not been for the misfortune of Gibson, who originally told reporters after the Saints game that he thought he'd be okay after taking a hard hit to his knee. Clearly, the injury was more severe than he originally thought, and now Gibson, who was having a solid training camp and preseason in his first season in New England, is out for the remainder of 2015.
"It's really unfortunate. He's a great football player," added Amendola, who was teammates with Gibson when the two played for the St. Louis Rams earlier in their careers.
"There's no doubt in my mind that he'll get his knee back and rehab it and get back out there as soon as he can. Brandon and I have formed a strong relationship over the past five, six years that we've been together. Obviously, my heart sank when I found out the news. He has a lot of support in our room. We all have his back, so, his spirits are high."
Proof of that came earlier this afternoon when Gibson tweeted a photo of a work of art that showed two human legs. The right one was missing its knee entirely.
Wayne, meanwhile, was not seen in the Patriots locker room when media were allowed inside for interviews Monday. He's likely getting started on his studies to learn the Patriots' complex playbook as quickly as possible.
"These coaches do a good job of getting guys in position to make plays," Amendola pointed out, "and I'm sure it'll be the same thing with him. We'll have a veteran that everyone can learn from."
It's possible we could see Wayne in a Patriots uniform as early as Tuesday, when New England returns to the practice field.