Bradshaw helped bring Nicks to Indy last offseason. He sold his buddy on a fresh start with the Colts and assured head coach Chuck Pagano that the sixth-year wide receiver still had a lot of game left.
Maybe a Monday Night Football road trip to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Giants will bring out Nicks’ best — or whatever he has left.
“I’d probably like him to get going more than I would,” Bradshaw said Thursday, as the former Giants talked to reporters a few feet away from each other in the locker room. “I just think he deserves it. He’s good enough to do it. There’s a lot of payback there.”
Nicks might want to show the Giants they were wrong to give up on him after last season, but he also needs to pay back the Colts for their one-year, $3-million investment. Nicks hasn’t put up numbers in the NFL’s No. 1 passing offense.
What he has done is not panic and assure his time is coming.
“I feel solid. I feel good about it,” Nicks said. “I want to continue to make plays.”
He admits to “little mishaps” with Luck. And how they need to start connecting better. But when asked about their “struggles,” as a reporter put it, Nicks quickly said he wouldn’t use that word.
Whatever the descriptive, a dubious comparison to former Colts wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is inevitable — Nicks has the old locker of Heyward-Bey, a one-year washout for similar money after he caught 29 passes for 309 yards and one TD in 2013.
In five seasons with the Giants, Nicks caught 311 passes for 4,622 yards and 27 TDs.
In eight games with the Colts, Nicks has 18 catches for 168 yards and two TDs. Compare that to Bradshaw, who has rebounded from a neck injury that ended his 2013 after three games. Although he’s a running back, he’s caught 31 passes for 264 yards and six TDs.
“It can’t get but better,” Nicks said.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne missed the Colts’ 51-34 loss at Pittsburgh Sunday, but Nicks had only one catch for 27 yards. Rookie Donte Moncrief, the team’s third-round pick in May, emerged with his best game yet, basically doubling his season output with seven catches for 113 yards and his first NFL TD.
Wayne’s status for Monday is still uncertain. Pagano said the 35-year-old team leader would be evaluated at the end of the week after seeing what Wayne can do in practice.
After last week, it goes without saying the Colts need a bounce-back effort in New Jersey. And as Bradshaw and Nicks said, what better time for Nicks to deliver, too.
“Lights on,” Nicks said.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.