INDIANAPOLIS – In March, Hakeem Nicks joined a Colts offense bursting with talent, and he joined a team rich in heritage for the jersey number he wore – 88 – with the New York Giants.
Speaking for the first time in spring work today, Nicks identified how he wound up with jersey number 14.
"It wasn't easy letting those 8's go," said Nicks. "I respect the situation. I moved to 14. My birthday is 1/14/88. I went from 88 to 14. It has some symbolism in it, and my daughter (Harmony) picked that number, too. That's good."
John Mackey (38 touchdowns) and Marvin Harrison (128) are among eight players in franchise history to score touchdowns in number 88.
Whether or not anyone else does so, Nicks chose a harmonious way to join a team he thinks has a chance for success.
"The quarterback situation is great here," said Nicks. "You always want to have a good quarterback. You always need help. I'm a witness to one Super Bowl (title) in New York. It wasn't just one guy. We had a whole team, a whole arsenal.
"I looked the situation here and felt it was the best to come in, play, be in the playoffs and compete on a high level."
A healthy Ahmad Bradshaw listened from a few lockers away and knows Nicks' migration to Indianapolis is a boon.
"He's like my brother. We've been through a lot together," said Bradshaw. "We've won the championship together. To have him out there, I know things will be a lot easier in the backfield for us and Andrew."
Nicks (twice, 2010-11) joins Reggie Wayne (eight) and T.Y. Hilton (once) as 1,000-yard receivers. Now he goes from being fed by Eli Manning to Andrew Luck.
"Eli's a great quarterback. It's been a pleasure playing for him for five seasons," said Nicks. "Right now, I'm in a new situation with a young quarterback. I look forward to playing with him.
"What (Luck) brings to the game is special. I've been critiquing his game for a while now. That's one of the reasons why I made the decision I made. I'm a big fan of his. I'm ready to make plays for him."
Today was the first day for the media to interact with players during open locker room.
Luck said Friday he and Nicks had not worked together on the field, but the first three days of the conditioning program have remedied that.
"It's very good to get the rhythm, the consistency, the timing down," said Luck. "As I've learned playing two years, timing is everything in this league. It is so important. It makes things just feel a little more comfortable.
"(His addition) will be great. He's a Super Bowl winner. He's a veteran. He knows how to win. Any time you can add that experience with a phenomenal player, it helps. I've been picking his brain about what it takes to make deep (playoff) runs and how he likes things."
Nicks said terminology is different here and will not be an issue, "It's still football. I'm going to continue to make plays the way I've made plays throughout my career."
Like Bradshaw, Nicks cites a positive locker room vibe, one they both have had throughout their careers and one that provides a prosperous culture.
With three running backs vying for time, a couple of third-year tight ends and a stable of receivers, Nicks is ready to run.
"It all starts with the quarterback position," said Nicks. "With Andrew set in the point and with the guys he has around him, they've been deep in the playoffs.
"It's just a matter of clicking on all cylinders and getting the team down to one page, one sound, one heartbeat. It seems like they've already got (that) going. I feel I can come in and play the game and contribute however possible."