With media members mere minutes from surrounding his locker, Hakeem Nicks wanted to make sure he looked as good as he had just performed.
Punctuating his sharp-dressed-man routine with two sizable earrings following Sunday’s 17-10 victory against Houston, the first-year Colts receiver faced cameras with both a smile and a sense of accomplishment.
Nicks’ 26-yard touchdown reception from Andrew Luck on a crossing pattern seven seconds into the second stanza gave Indianapolis its first points in what was a division-clinching performance.
Finishing with two catches for 44 yards, the 6-foot-1, 208-pound Nicks appreciated playing such a major role in the team’s offensive success after securing only 22 grabs in the Colts’ first 13 games.
Three of those games Nick wasn’t targeted at all. He was thrown at a grand total of one time in the three victories (against Jacksonville, Washington and Cleveland) leading up to Sunday.
This time the Colts’ offensive brain trust remembered that No. 14 running around in the blue jersey is pretty doggone good.
“I just wanted to go out there and make plays. They called on me today and I stepped up. (The touchdown) was a great play call by coach Pep Hamilton, our offensive coordinator. He called the play to get me across the middle of the field, and that’s something I do well,” Nicks said.
With defenses focused so intently on T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Donte Moncrief and tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, Nicks’ lack of productivity coming into Sunday’s regular-season home finale had more to do with snaps than anything.
Only once has he provided the offense five receptions, and that was in the season-opening loss at Denver. Yardage-wise Nicks’ ceiling this season is the 50 he accrued in a 44-17 victory at Jacksonville in Week 3.
This from the same player who in five seasons with the New York Giants won a Super Bowl ring. The lowest number of receptions Nicks had in the Big Apple was 47 as a rookie in 2009.
Now playing for a franchise well-stocked with dependable targets, he’s been forced to embrace an entirely different role since signing a one-year deal with Indianapolis in March.
“I won’t say I get frustrated. It’s a team game. You’ve got to understand that things go on,” Nicks said. “My job is to be a player, and when I get called on to step up and make plays. I think I do a pretty good job of that.”
It’s here Wayne, who at age 36 has a decade of real-life and NFL experience on Nicks, has been invaluable both on and off the field.
“Just teaching me the business side of things. How to conduct yourself and carry yourself and things in that manner. When I came into the league I never had a guy who would mentor me. To be able to come here six years in and soak that up, that was very needed,” Nicks said.
“We know what he is capable of doing and we know what he brings to the table week in and week out — veteran leadership and everything under that. Reggie is an outstanding person. An outstanding player.”
Nicks, whose Super Bowl title took place on this same Lucas Oil Stadium field in February 2011, knows Indianapolis must possess numerous downfield options if it is to possibly make the deep postseason run it envisions.
Nicks is hoping he’s one of them.