Most articles are prefaced with some type of information on a situation. The last few on New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks weren’t about his 2012 season or about his rehabilitation, or even about what’s to hopefully come for the 2009 blue first-round draft pick. This one is.
2013 will be Nicks’ fifth with the Giants. Every serious athlete (especially skill players) set healthy goals for themselves. Building upon career numbers of 3,726 receiving yards, 27 touchdowns and only three fumbles (none lost) needs to begin with playing for a full season — something #88 has yet to do for blue. The most games in a season he played were 15 in 2011 (broken toe). The veteran spent most of his thus-far offseason in his born state of North Carolina getting ready to do just that.
The University of North Carolina product is proud of his accomplishments while in Carolina blue and white. When asked about any of his time there or of his standout performances (of the 181 receptions, 2,840 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns), he lights up. The same emotion is elicited when he speaks of his brief time in a deeper shade of (New York Giants) blue.
For a player that was compared to Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin (by his UNC coach) he sure doesn’t emulate him off the field. He’s quiet, respectful and quite the soft-spoken southerner. He also avoids high drama. Plenty of recent queries have gone in the direction of fellow teammate/wide receiver, Victor Cruz, and the matter of contracts and camp show/no-show. Nicks, instead of barking an unnecessary heated answer at the media (or even fans), politely changes the subject or remains silent — all the while, donning a smile. He’d rather talk about football — where his passion lies.
“I’m not here to talk about (OTAs),” Nicks said Tuesday at the first day of mandatory mini-camp. “I’m here to talk about me being here right now. I’m here. I’m happy to be back around my teammates. I’m not really going to go back. That’s in the past already.”
At a recent signing event in New Jersey, #88 conversed mostly when asked about his amazing catches while at UNC as well as while in his current uniform for the Giants. Nicks loves football. Ask about how he felt during certain plays and what he hopes for this upcoming season and he will tell you until he has nothing more to say. Ask him about his upcoming season plans or how it feels to be back on the field with a potential home Super Bowl on the line — now that gets his attention. Nicks even got a kick out of fans measuring their hands against his (no contest, by the way). Perhaps the most comical answer of the night came from a question about college football: Duke or UNC and why? As most would expect, Nicks exclaimed “UNC, because they’re the better team!” However, the part about them wearing the “color of the sky”…well, that threw some off. His smirk behind that part of his answer was a side probably rarely seen.
Let the assuming comments about an upcoming long-contract situation for 2014 be for now. If Hakeem Nicks isn’t worried about it (before the kickoff of the ’13 season) what good is speculation based on what one slot receiver is allegedly doing? Plus, if his laid back approach to just about everything besides playing football is an inclination of things to come, get ready for what may be his best year with Big Blue yet.
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