By the end of the 2012 season, Hakeem Nicks was a barely-used afterthought. The New York Giants' nominal No. 1 receiver was too injured to be a factor in back-to-back catchless games. Nicks underwent knee surgery after the season, but he's on the mend now.
Speaking on the first day of the Giants' offseason conditioning program, Nicks sounded hopeful he's on the way to way to a full recovery.
"I kept it simple because it was my first time running routes," said Nicks, speaking about catching passes from Eli Manning at Duke University last week. "I wasn't about to go out there and -- it's still early right now. So my biggest thing is that I want my presence to be felt there with Eli. Because it is something that I do week-to-week. We're on the same page."
"It is always good to see him back healthy," Manning told the team's website. "He is still striving to get to 100 percent. Obviously, having a healthy Hakeem would definitely make our team much better.
It's an interesting offseason for Nicks. He's entering his contract year, just like Victor Cruz. We've heard the Giants view Nicks, not Cruz, as the team's true priority to sign long-term despite their numbers. Barring a big change, Cruz and Nicks will both enter their contract years without much long-term certainty.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.