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Friday, March 14, 2014
Colts address depth at receiver with Nicks

By Mike Wells

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts knew something had to be done. This is nothing against Da'Rick Rodgers, Griff Whalen and LaVon Brazill. They all ended up progressing by the end of last season.

Nicks
But the Colts had to get an upgrade at receiver. They needed to give quarterback Andrew Luck another veteran player to throw to besides T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne.

Enter Hakeem Nicks.

Nicks, who spent his first five seasons with the New York Giants, let it be known earlier this week that he had interest in catching passes from Luck next season. He flew into Indianapolis on Thursday and met with the team officials Friday. A sign things were going well occurred when the team posted a picture of Nicks walking around the facility on Twitter late Friday afternoon. Colts general manager Ryan Grigson isn't one to fly in a bunch of players he's interested in just for kicks. He must have an incredible sales pitch because most players usually leave Indianapolis having agreed to a deal.

Depth at receiver was an issue all last season for the Colts. There were times when you didn't know who was going to help Hilton and tight end Coby Fleener with catching balls from Luck.

The Colts signed Nicks at the right time because the receiver free-agent market had started to dry up with players such as Steve Smith, Jacoby Jones and Eric Decker signing deals.

Just like Darrius Heyward-Bey last year, Nicks comes to the Colts with something to prove.

Nicks wants to get back to displaying the skills that allowed him to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2010-11. Unlike Heyward-Bey, though, Nicks won't turn out to be a disaster.

Nicks had somewhat of a down year last season when he had 896 yards receiving and didn't catch a touchdown for the first time in his career. So motivation alone by the 26-year-old Nicks will help him and the Colts.

The key question remains for the Colts now at receiver is what type of player Wayne will be once he hits the field for Week 1 of the regular season in the fall. He's 35 years old and working his way back from a torn ACL, suffered in Week 7 last season. There's no question Wayne is putting in the time to work his way back -- coach Chuck Pagano said there's been times he's been at facility seven days a week -- but age isn't on his side.

The pressure won't be on Wayne to carry the load with Nicks and Hilton, who emerged as Luck's go-to receiver after Wayne went down last season.

Just like the Colts want it.