Sometimes, a homecoming isn’t in the best interest of both sides.
Saturday, Charlotte native and former New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks said his hometown Carolina Panthers offered him a contract but ultimately the two sides agreed it wasn’t the best situation.
Instead, the former Independence and North Carolina star wide receiver signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts worth $3.5 million.
“Yeah they made an offer when I talked to (Panthers general manager) Dave Gettleman,” Nicks said. “But you know it just didn’t pan out the right way. I feel like this is the best fit for me.”
Nicks spent five seasons with the Giants, who drafted him in the first round of the 2009 draft, and knew Gettleman from his days as a pro personnel executive in the Giants’ front office.
“After talking to Gettleman, I think he agreed that this was the best situation for me, too, even though they made the offer,” Nicks said. “Like I said I feel like I made the best decision and I’m ready to make the best of it.”
The one-year deal has a reported maximum of $5.5 million including incentives – essentially a “show-me” contract for a promising young receiver who’s had two bad years.
Nicks, 26, posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011, but his past two seasons have been hampered by foot and knee injuries. Since his 1,192-yard third season in 2011, Nicks had a 692-yard 2012 season and 896 receiving yards last season with no touchdowns.
“Last year was last year,” Nicks said. “I don’t want to get into that. I’m on a new start now.
“I don’t think there’s anything for me to prove. I think I just want to go out there and play football and win championships. My play speaks for itself. I’m always working in silence and letting the game speak loud.”
Nicks said he hopes to parlay this deal into a bigger contract in 2015. He confirmed the report that he wanted a long-term second contract, but none of the offers enticed him.
Along with the Colts and Panthers, the San Diego Chargers were on his wish list. Nicks said the Giants did not offer him a contract.
“I didn’t really like (any) of the situations, and I didn’t want to get myself in a long-term situation that I didn’t like,” Nicks said. “This is a great organization and a chance to show them what I can do and what I can bring to the table.”
With the Colts, Nicks finds one of the best young quarterbacks in the league in Andrew Luck, as well as working with receivers Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and tight end Dwayne Allen. Nicks said he saw himself as the missing piece to the Colts’ puzzle in a quest for the Super Bowl.
Nicks also has a relationship with the Colts coaching staff. Head coach Chuck Pagano was UNC’s defensive coordinator in 2007, and wide receivers coach Charlie Williams was Nicks’ collegiate position coach in 2007 and 2008.