Nicks Hoping to Revive Career With 49ers

Ex-Giants and Colts receiver, now a free agent, expected to audition with 49ers Monday

In his first three NFL seasons, Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks had the look of a longtime star.

After 47 catches in his rookie season of 2009, Nicks pulled in 79 for 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2010 and added 76 the next season for 1,192 yards and seven TDs.

The former North Carolina star, 6 feet tall and 210 pounds, was both quick and fast, able to break loose on short or deep routes.

But over the past three seasons, Nicks’ star has dimmed. He had 53- and 56-catch seasons for the Giants in 2012 and 2013, then moved on to the Colts where he had just 38 catches for a career-worst 405 yards and a 10.7-yard average in 2014.

Injuries to a knee and foot, it seemed, had taken away his ability to separate from defensive backs. As Kevin Patra of noted, “Nicks’ career trajectory nosedived after his stud 2011 season. Injuries helped dissipate his explosiveness.” And, wrote Patra, he started dropping passes – something he rarely did early in his career.

Now Nicks has told ESPN that he’s scheduled to visit the 49ers Monday, and the veteran free agent could provide the Niners some veteran depth.

Though the 49ers are expected to address the wide receiver position in the upcoming draft, it’s possible the team could wait until the second round and take a defensive player in the first round. If so, Nicks could be someone that GM Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Tomsula may believe still has much more to give than what he showed in 2014 with Indianapolis.

Nicks would give the 49ers another option behind Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith and some competition for Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton and Jerome Simpson.

Nicks, just 27, has not drawn much interest in free agency after playing out his one-year free agent deal with the Colts.

Nicks was healthy enough to play all 16 games last season and says he’s now ready to prove he can be a playmaker. He’s just looking for another chance and says he’s learned a lot after trying to work through his various injuries.

“Now I am extremely healthy,” he told reporters at the end of the Colts season. “Looking back on it now, I think that’s something that I just had to go through. My body was adjusting. Coming into the NFL, I had never missed a game due to injury, so I look at it like it was just my way of getting broken in. Injuries come with the game. It was just a matter of missing time or not.”

Now, he’s hoping to revive his career with the 49ers.

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