Thursday, April 18, 2013
Nicks, unlike Cruz, at offseason workouts
By Kieran Darcy
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- While everyone is talking about the contract status of Victor Cruz, fellow wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is equally as important -- if not more so -- to the Giants' future.
Nicks gutted through the 2012 season, despite dealing with serious foot and knee injuries. But he was at the Giants' training facility this week for the opening of the team's voluntary offseason workout program, and spoke to the media on Thursday.
"My body's feeling good," Nicks said. "My goal is to be full-go by the season, by training camp. So this time that I have now is to get myself back in football shape, football condition. It’s been a while. So that’s all I’m doing right now."
When asked how confident he feels that he will be ready for training camp, Nicks said, "My confidence is extremely high."
Nicks played in 13 of 16 games last year, but he had just 53 catches, and posted career lows in receiving yardage (692) and touchdowns (3). The Giants' offensive production suffered as a result, and the team missed the playoffs, a year after winning the Super Bowl.
"Obviously having Hakeem hurt for most of the year was a factor," quarterback Eli Manning said Thursday. "In the middle of the year and the end of the year, he wasn’t himself, and you can see that on the film clearly. So it’d be great to have him back full-speed, healthy, making the plays he normally makes."
Nicks worked out with Manning last week at Duke University, running routes for the first time since last season. "Felt pretty good," Nicks said. "Weren’t no setbacks from that."
"I think it’s still a work in progress," Manning said. "We did test him on a few things, and he looked good, and he seemed to recover quickly, so that’s very promising. And obviously the most important thing is that he is 100 percent once the season starts."
Nicks is entering the final year of his contract, and acknowledged Thursday that the upcoming season is a big one for him. But when asked about the possibility of signing a long-term extension before the season, Nicks wouldn't take the bait.
"No offense to this, but I don’t really negotiate my contract in the media," Nicks said. "My agent handles that. I just play football."
Nicks averaged 78 catches for 1,122 yards and nine touchdowns in 2010 and 2011, and may have damaged his free-agent value by playing hurt last year. But he sounded proud of his 2012 performance.
"Nobody knew what I was going through but me," Nicks said. "I felt like I came out better than the average person would have in that position. So I feel like I was blessed to come out the way I did. It could have been worse. I fought through it. I did it for my team. But it taught me some things."
Maybe it would have been in his best interest to not play, if he wasn't nearly 100 percent?
"You could look at that and say that now, but when you’re going through the situation it’s a lot harder -- especially when you’re a competitor like the way I am," Nicks said. "You just gotta look back on it now and be glad that it’s over with, and that’s what I do."