FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — New England Patriots players are looking forward to having veteran wide receiver and former rival Reggie Wayne on their team.
“He’s a good player. He’s played at a high level for a long time,” fellow receiver Danny Amendola said Monday. “He played on some other good football teams. We’re excited to have him.”
There was no announcement by late afternoon Monday by the team, but Bill Belichick, making his weekly appearance on WEEI in Boston, said, “’’I think we’ve agreed. I’ve had several (conversations) with him. We’ll see how it goes.”
Said safety Devin McCourty: “I’m a big fan.”
Wayne, who turns 37 in November, caught 64 catches for 779 yards in 2014, his poorest season. He wanted to play his 15th straight season with the Colts, who informed him they were going in another direction.
There hadn’t been much movement on Wayne, seventh in NFL career receptions (1,070, 82 for touchdowns) and eighth in yardage (14,345), but the Patriots have been battling through injuries in the preseason and the need was there.
New England placed veteran receiver Brandon Gibson, who had 12 catches for 97 yards in two preseason games before tearing his right ACL, on injured reserve Monday.
Top wideout Julian Edelman heads a list of receivers who have yet to appear in a game.
“We’ve never had him in our system before — coaching him (just) in the Pro Bowl and all that — but we’ll just see how it goes,” said Belichick. “He’s certainly had a great career and has done a lot of things for the Colt organization, primarily playing on the left, but then in more recent years being moved around to playing on the right and also in some slot situations.
“I think he has a lot of experience …”
Safety Tavon Wilson sees Wayne as potentially a strong influence in the locker room.
“He’s been around for a long time, so obviously he knows the tricks of the trade,” Wilson said. “You’re going to bring an older guy to our locker room for veteran leadership, so we’re glad to have him and looking forward to him being on our team.”
Added Amendola: “He knows how to get open and catch the ball. These coaches do a good job of getting guys in position where they can make plays. I’m sure it’ll be the same thing with him, and having a veteran that everyone can learn from in our room is really nice.”
Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri went the other way in the rivalry, from New England to Indy, winning Super Bowls in both places.
“I’m happy for him. I know he wanted to play football,” Vinatieri said. “He’s a great competitor and great athlete. He’s going to make that team better.
“It’ll be interesting to see him come here (Oct. 18), having him have a different jersey on. . I know I’m going to give him a big hug and say, ‘Congratulations and good luck.’”
NOTES: Amendola, who has been a teammate of Gibson’s with both the Rams and Patriots, said, “It’s really unfortunate. He’s a great football player. In my mind he’ll get his knee back and rehab it. Brandon and I have formed a strong relationship in the five or 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 got his back, so his spirits are high.” . The Patriots re-signed rookie linebacker D.J. Lynch.