By Tom James
INDIANAPOLIS — Reggie Wayne and Ed Reed have a special relationship.
The Indianapolis Colts wide receiver and Baltimore Ravens free safety are both New Orleans natives. They were teammates at the University of Miami. And, more importantly, they were roommates while in college.
Even after Wayne was the Colts’ first-round draft pick in 2001 and Reed was the Ravens’ first-round pick in 2002, the bond has remained strong.
“We probably talk about three times a week, which is probably too much time. I mean, we’re brothers. We consider ourselves brothers. We’re both from New Orleans, four years of seeing his face in college, roommates. We talk all the time, whether it’s football or what’s going on at home, his family, my family. We just talk about everything,” Wayne said Wednesday.
“We talk about three times a week, probably spend about 30 minutes on the phone each time. I’ll be sure to not use my anytime minutes. I consider him family. We talk all the time, just talk about whatever. We talked this week. I have to take him out this week. Whenever we go to Baltimore he has to take me out, [and] whenever they come to Indianapolis I have to take him out.”
Still, there is one bone of contention between the two. It seems as Reed wasn’t a good caretaker for one of Wayne’s pet snakes.
“You want to bring that up? He killed my snake. He neglected my snake. My rookie year, I came here and I left my snake with him, and he was supposed to take care of him. I thought he was taking care of him. My off week I went home and my snake was a little sick. So, I had to nourish him and get him back going. I got him back going, came back to Indianapolis to finish the season off,” he recalled.
“Right around the end of season, which was a long season already, I got a text message that said — my snake’s name was Law — it said, ‘Hey man, Law’s dead.’ So, that’s pretty much how it went. That was a wrap. It was a Green Burmese Python. He was supposed to reimburse me with a new snake. I haven’t received it yet. I’m glad [the media] brought it up because I’ll be sure to remind him when I see him.”
When asked what Reed didn’t do, Wayne said it was simple.
“I don’t know. I mean I was feeding him every two or three days. He got spoiled. You get spoiled. That’s like if I don’t feed you after you’ve eaten everyday, you get weak. That’s kind of how it was,” he said.
“He had his days when he would love to play with him, and he had his days when he was scared of him. I guess that’s how it went. It didn’t work out in Law’s favor, I can tell you that.”
• Garçon worries about family in Haiti — Pardon Pierre Garçon if his mind wasn’t completely on football Wednesday.
Several members of his family still reside in Haiti, which was hit by a massive earthquake on Tuesday. He is one of several NFL players — including Denver defensive end Elvis Dumervil, New Orleans middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril and San Francisco Ricky Jean-Francois — who have relatives living on the island.
“It’s terrible. It’s probably the worst thing that could ever happen there. It’s a nightmare. It’s a poor country and it’s going to take a long time to rebuild,” Garcon said before the start of Wednesday’s practice.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was like ‘An earthquake in Haiti?’ You just don’t think about it. You think about earthquakes in California or some place.”
Garçon said that his mother has been trying to get in contact with as many relatives as possible, but it hasn’t been easy. He has been using Twitter to help track people down and to get the word out about what’s happening on the island nation.
“Aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews. We still have not heard much from them and my mom is still trying to call them,” Garçon explained. “I’m keeping in contact with my mom. It’s tough to get in touch with people down there because of the phone lines.
“Spreading the word and helping others is really what it’s all about and this is the best situation to do that now. That’s all I can really do to help get the message out. That’s how we got the pictures out, the word out, that’s been really helpful.”
• Turner going to Redskins — Former Indiana State football player and assistant football coach Bobby Turner is headed to Washington to become the Redskins’ new associate head coach.
Turner has been the Denver Broncos’ running backs coach since 1995. He is rejoining former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan, who was named as Washington’s new head coach last week.
According to the Denver Post, Denver team officials initially said no when Shanahan initially requested permission to talk to the East Chicago native. But the Broncos relented after Turner was assured of a promotion to the associate head coach’s position with the Redskins.
Known as one of the NFL’s best offensive backfield coaches, Terrell Davis went from sixth-round draft pick to NFL MVP under Turner’s tutelage. Davis, Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis, Rueben Droughns, Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell all had at least one 1,000-yard rushing season while playing for the ex-Sycamores assistant coach.
Turner played safety at Indiana State in the early 1970s and went on to work as both a running back coach and defensive backfield coach under former ISU head coaches Tom Harp, Dick Jamieson and Dennis Raetz. He has also coached on the collegiate level at Purdue, Fresno State and Ohio State.
• Injury list — Nobody missed any practice time for Indianapolis Wednesday. But the week’s first injury report was a lengthy one:
Defensive end Ervin Baldwin (groin), middle linebacker Gary Brackett (quad), defensive end Raheem Brock (hip), safety Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), defensive end Keyunta Dawson (knee), offensive tackle Ryan Diem (elbow), safety Aaron Francisco (quad), defensive end Dwight Freeney (foot), wide receiver Pierre Garçon (hand), cornerback Tim Jennings (knee), defensive tackle Antonio Johnson (shoulder), offensive tackle Charlie Johnson (foot), defensive end Robert Mathis (shoulder), defensive tackle Daniel Muir (shoulder), quarterback Curtis Painter (ankle), cornerback Jerraud Powers (hamstring), offensive guard Jamey Richard (shoulder), tight end Gijon Robinson (knee), weak side linebacker Clint Session (knee), offensive tackle Tony Ugoh (knee), wide receiver Reggie Wayne (knee) and placekicker Adam Vinatieri (right hip).