Hakeem Nicks gets it.
In past years, he possibly didn’t. He probably didn’t. Now, he does.
Per a source with knowledge of Nicks’ plans, he’s promptly heading to The IMG Academy to train with players preparing for the draft. His goal will be to get himself into peak physical shape for offseason workouts, in order to make an immediate impression on quarterback Andrew Luck.
While Nicks wanted to return home to Charlotte and play for the Panthers, Carolina showed no genuine interest, per multiple sources. That made it easier for Nicks to realize that, in Indianapolis, he’ll be playing with an accurate young quarterback and competing with Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton to become Luck’s favorite target.
Nicks also could benefit from Luck’s influence. Giants quarterback Eli Manning isn’t wired to tell teammates what they should be doing. Luck, by all appearances, is. It could help Nicks translate his one-year stint with the Colts into a longer-term, bigger-money deal elsewhere.
In the end, this year’s experiment with a 2009 first-round receiver could work out better than last year’s one-season stint from 2009 failed first-rounder Darrius Heyward-Bey. For the money invested in Nicks ($4 million including per-game roster bonuses and up to $5.5 million with incentives), it could end up being a win-win.