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Can Colts WR Hakeem Nicks Regain Old Form?

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Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants looks on prior to the start of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 8, 2013 in San Diego, California. (credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants looks on prior to the start of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 8, 2013 in San Diego, California. (credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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By Abraham Gutierrez

CBS Local Sports presents 32 Players in 32 Days, a daily feature focusing on one impact player from each NFL team.

Hakeem Nicks – WR – #14
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 208 lbs.
Age: 26
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
College: North Carolina
Experience: 6 years  

As the Indianapolis Colts continue training camp in preparation for their first game of the 2014 NFL preseason, fans of the horseshoe are wondering why they haven’t heard much about offseason acquisition (wide receiver) Hakeem Nicks.

After agreeing to a one-year deal worth a reported $3.975 million, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson hopes taking a chance on a player that was highly regarded as the biggest wild card in the free agent market pays dividends.

However, as the Colts prepare to take on the new-look New York Jets in Week 1 of the NFL preseason, all indications are that the former first-round pick has yet to make an impression on offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

“I don’t know if I can say that I’ve seen enough,” said Bruce Arians successor during Friday’s press conference. “I think he is still working to get himself in game shape. His talent is well documented and his ability to be a productive receiver in the league is without a doubt something that we are not questioning, he’s a special talent. Hakeem and I had the same high school coach and I’ve been watching him for quite some time.”

When healthy, Nicks’ abilities make him one of the most prolific wideouts in the National Football League and a key component for a team with championship aspirations. He was instrumental in the New York Giants winning Super Bowl XLVI, recording 155 catches for 2,240 yards and 18 touchdowns during a two-year (2010-11) stretch.

Nevertheless, the former UNC standout has been severely hobbled by foot and knee injuries since the G-Men’s title run. This is evidenced by the fact that Nicks closed out last season with a goose egg under the touchdown category and comes into the 2014 NFL campaign following his second-worst receptions total (15 games).

In a perfect world, Nicks’ Super Bowl experience gives the Colts a veteran presence in the locker room and, more importantly, provides Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck a reliable third option behind Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton.

Which Hakeem Nicks will show up this NFL season is still anyone’s guess as the Colts try and capture back-to-back AFC South titles for the first time since 2009-10. Nevertheless, the team’s depth and his contractual situation make him a low-risk/high-reward investment for Grigson regardless of the outcome.

Thus far in training camp, reports indicate that Nicks is adapting to the Colts system at a satisfactory pace. By far the biggest question mark is going to be: Can Nicks stay on the field long enough to have a significant impact?

Luckily, Colts fans won’t have to wait very long to get their first look at the former 29th overall NFL Draft pick in a Speed Blue and White uniform.

Nicks makes his anticipated Indy debut when the defending AFC South champs take on the New York Jets in Week 1 of the 2014 NFL preseason Thursday night. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern Time from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.  

Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on aExaminer.com. .

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