Former teammate Victor Cruz believes all of the criticism had a negative effect on Nicks' performance in 2013.
"I mean, anytime people say things like that and try to discuss your character, I think it takes a toll on anyone," Cruz said Monday, via the New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano. "I think it did for him, and I think it's something where he wants to prove people wrong.
"Obviously he's a competitor and he wants to play and be able to do all of those things at a high level, and you could just see certain times throughout the game it just didn't look like he was himself."
Nicks' one-year contract with Indianapolis represents an opportunity for a fresh start.
The lack of touchdowns last year obscured a marked increase in yards per catch, from 13.1 in 2012 to 16.0 in 2013.