So Reggie Wayne is going to go play for the New England Patriots.
Wow, man, that hurts.
As much as I admire Reggie Wayne as a true professional, it amazes me that he could even consider joining the ranks of the enemy after 14 seasons fighting the good fight against them as an Indianapolis Colt.
They might as well hand him a red-white-and-blue Patriot jersey and slap "Arnold" across the back. As in Benedict.
For this is like Reggie Miller becoming a New York Knick. Or heaven forbid, Bob Knight coaching Purdue. Or even beloved Chicago Cub Ron Santo playing for the White Sox (oh wait, that happened thanks to a woefully misguided Cub trade).
I know, I know, pro football is a business. No room for loyalty and all that. And 36-year-old Reggie doesn't want just another paycheck as much as he wants another Super Bowl title.
But it's not as if he were Ernie Banks or Ted Williams or Patrick Ewing, toiling for the same franchise for decades without sniffing a title. Reggie has a Super Bowl ring. Would have had another if it weren't for Hank "Mr. Stone Hands" Baskett and a gutsy on-side kick by New Orleans.
So I honestly don't get how Reggie can reconcile going from years of hating the Bellichick and Brady bunch and their Spygate tricks and all to becoming one of them.
It's .... well, deflating.
It's not like he's Peyton Manning going to Denver. Or Jeff Saturday getting one last year at Green Bay. Those aren't bitter rivals of the Colts. We can stomach that.
On a much different scale, I have been in Reggie's shoes. No, not cleats, shoes.
When the newspaper I worked for in Bloomington (The Courier-Tribune) folded years ago after a quite spirited crosstown newspaper war, the gang at the rival daily (it was The Herald-Telephone back then) invited me to join their sports department ranks.
It was flattering to think I would have been the lone C-T staffer to make the jump. Even went to lunch with famed sports editor Bob Hammel and his crew and joined them in some silly lunchtime name-game ritual, just like I was already hired and part of the group.
But when it actually came down to making that move, as much as I loved Bloomington and wanted to stay in town and continue covering IU basketball, I just could not do it.
Would never have felt comfortable. Couldn't break ranks and join the enemy.
Felt like I owed it to all the folks I had worked so hard alongside battling that competition to not turn my back on them. Took a job in Richmond, Va., instead.
Yes, Reggie Wayne deserves to keep playing in the NFL as long as his talent allows.
But New England? Really? Is this another Patriot game?
I know it's cold in Green Bay, Reggie, but they need a receiver up there now as well.
And at least going there wouldn't tear our hearts out to see happen.