Reggie Wayne would “love” to join Peyton Manning in Miami, thinks he and Brandon Marshall would be a “great combination”

March 8, 2012 – 9:00 am by Brad Gagnon

Peyton Manning woke up this morning a free agent for the first time in his life. And naturally, the speculation machine has already been churning away. The top fit for Manning, according to the majority of those who are paid to draw such connections, is Miami. Manning has a home in South Florida, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is a big fan of Manning’s, and it just so happens that the Phins are in search of a franchise quarterback.

It also just so happens that Reggie Wayne, who is one of Manning’s all-time favorite targets, is also a free agent. And Wayne himself has strong connections to Miami — he’s a former Hurricane.

Reggie Wayne joined Michael Irvin on WQAM in Miami to relay his reaction to the predictable yet still jarring news of Manning’s release, while also voicing his desire to team up with Manning and top-flight wide receiver Brandon Marshall in Miami next year. While he was at it, Wayne also stomped on the notion that Manning would struggle to adjust to certain systems.

On his emotional response to the news that Manning was being released:

“We knew this day was coming. We knew it was either gonna be a joyous day or a sad day. We knew one of the two was coming. And unfortunately it is a sad day, but as a Colt player you kind of focused on this a long time ago and got this out the way. When we were told during the season that he wasn’t gonna play at all, and then the type of season we had knowing that we were in the running for the first pick in the draft, you knew this day was coming. So this is not quite a shock as much as it is to everybody else at this point in time, but it is definitely a sad day for Indianapolis, for the state of Indiana and definitely for the Colts organization.”

On these types of developments being the downside of pro football:

“It is, man. With an icon like Peyton, you just feel like it rightfully fit for him to finish his career with the Indianapolis Colts. And it just seems like you know no other way. But like you said, it is the sad part of this game when this day comes, and as a player you know it’s gonna come some day. You just hope never today, you know what I’m saying? You hope way down the line somewhere. But it’s tough, man. It is. And I know how hard this guy prepares, I know how hard he works. I know how much he means for this city and how much off-the-field stuff he’s done for the city of Indianapolis, so to see this day come to light is definitely — it’s touching, man. It is a sad day, it really is.”

On the possibility that Manning goes to the Dolphins:

“I think it’d be a good fit for him. He always had a crib in South Florida. It’s less moving that he has to do. He’s already familiar with the city. I’m sure that the Dolphins fans would love to have him here. I think it’s a great fit for him. I’m no agent of his, I’m just a lonely ex-teammate. I really feel like whoever gets Peyton Manning would definitely have a gem. He’s one of the best if not the best quarterback in the league ever, in history. And in a Dolphin uniform? I can see that happening. I really can. I really think he’d enjoy it. I really think that the Dolphin organization would benefit from it, and it would be a hell of a battle in the AFC East, with the rest of those teams, and especially with a Tom Brady in there. So I can definitely see that in the works.”

On the possibility that he and Manning join the Dolphins together:

“I mean, I can see it and I’m definitely not opposed to it. He’s a great worker and I consider myself a great worker, and when you put great workers together good things happen. So me being in his trail onto Miami? I would love it. I would definitely love it. I am totally available, my phone is working. Make sure you put that out there — my phone is working. I’ve paid my bills ahead of time just so we don’t have no problems. So I am ready for anything that comes right now. So I can definitely see that in the mix also.”

On how he’d work with Brandon Marshall in Miami:

“I see it working great. I see it working excellent. He is definitely one of the best receivers in this league, and it would definitely be fit to see us both side-to-side. And I’ve watched him in plenty of offseasons and watched what he’s done on the field, and used some of the things that he uses as far as getting off the jam and being physical as a receiver. So I can definitely benefit from him also. So it’d be a great combination. Then you throw in Peyton Manning and a guy who knows what a defense wants to do before they even do it. So it can definitely be dangerous. It can truly be dangerous if they put us all together. So the league might not want that, Mike. They might not want to see that. South Florida, it’s already hot out here, baby. So you put us all together it’ll be burning up. So it would definitely be a sight to see if that would happen.”

On the possibility of finishing his professional career in the place where his college career started:

“Storybook ending, brother. Lovely. Couldn’t get any better. It’d be great. It’d be fun, exciting. Now you’ve got me vizualizing it. I see the visual, it is there. I see it. It’d be great. It’d definitely be a fun time and an outstanding journey in South Florida.”

On if he’d join the Dolphins to help persuade Manning to sign there:

“My phone is working. It is definitely working. Trust me — I’ve got all my bars. I am ready to go. Whenever that phone rings, guess what? Reggie Wayne will answer.”

On the belief that Manning might not adjust easily to certain offensive systems:

“C’mon, man. For real? I don’t think there’s a tougher offensive system that he’s gonna have to go through than what he already had. If it’s anything, people might have a hard time adjusting to what he brings to the table. No matter what you throw at him, I guarantee he will grasp it faster than anybody that can possibly grasp it … this guy is gonna work relentless. You don’t think he wants to prove people wrong? You don’t think he wants to go out there and show everybody that he’s back and what he can do and what he can’t do? This dude is gonna be ready. Trust me, he’s gonna be more than ready. And he’s not gonna have a problem adjusting to nobody’s scheme, nobody’s offense, nobody’s roster. He’s gonna fit in just like he’s been there.”

Listen to Reggie Wayne on WQAM here

Brad Gagnon is also the NFL editor at theScore.com‘s Goal-Line Stand blog. He can be followed on Twitter right here.

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