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Hakeem Nicks struggling to find his niche in Indianapolis

Nicks appears to be an afterthought in the Colts' offense.

Hakeem Nicks runs with the ball
Hakeem Nicks runs with the ball
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While former New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw is thriving with the Indianapolis Colts, becoming an integral part of the Colts' offense, the story thus far has been much different for ex-Giant wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.

In his first year in Indianapolis after five seasons with the Giants, Nicks is tied for sixth on the Colts in receptions with just 18. He is averaging just 9.3 yards per catch after never averaging below 13.1 yards per catch in any of his five seasons in New York. The 18 catches put him on pace for 36, far below the career-low of 47 he caught as a rookie with the Giants in 2009.

Those numbers would seem to indicate that the Giants were correct in choosing not to bid on Nicks when he became a free agent after last season. After catching more than 70 passes in both 2010 and 2011, Nicks had two injury-plagued sub-par seasons with the Giants in 2013 (53 catches) and 2013 (56 catches).

Nicks signed a one-year, $4 million 'prove it' deal in Indianapolis. At this rate, what Nicks is proving is that the Giants were right and that there won't be another big contract coming for him after this season.

"I had to learn my role. First things first, I had to learn my role. I have to play it well. My job is to contribute to the team in the best way possible and make plays when I am called on," Nicks said. "I am going to make plays when the ball comes my way."

Despite the lack of big numbers, Colts coach Chuck Pagano lauded Nicks.

"There is only one football, we’ve got a ton of skill guys, and a ton of playmakers around our quarterback," Pagano said. "Guy is big and strong, plays big, has strong hands, and he is sneaky fast and he can still get behind you and make plays. The numbers may not look outstanding at this point, but he has come in there and done a great job. He works his tale off. He is doing a great job for us and, again, we’ve got a bunch of guys on the outside, a couple tight ends, a couple of runners. There is only one football, but he is a selfless guy."

Nicks, 26, told reporters on a conference call this week that he is healthy.

"Physically, this is the best I have felt since my early career in New York. My last couple of years were rough for me, fighting through injuries and playing through them or whatnot. Right now I have been good. My body is feeling good," Nicks said.

Josh Wilson of Stampede Blue told us earlier this week that he has not been impressed with Nicks at all:

"Put quite simply, I don't think Hakeem Nicks should get much playing time and I do expect his time to decrease as the season goes on. ... When the Colts signed Nicks to a low-risk one-year deal they were hoping he could get back to the Nicks of old. What we've seen this year has no resemblance to that Nicks whatsoever, and that's unfortunate."

The Giants replaced Nicks at the 'X' receiver with Rueben Randle, who has 34 catches. The third-year man from LSU probably isn't what Nicks was at his best, but he has been more productive than the Nicks the Giants saw the past two seasons. The Giants, of course, also drafted Odell Beckham Jr. in the first round.

The question for you to debate Giants' fans, is whether or not you believe the Giants -- and Nicks -- made the right choice by moving on without each other.