The Indianapolis Colts take on the New York Giants on Monday Night Football this week, and as they do two prominent former Giants will be suiting up in a different shade of blue. Colts' running back Ahmad Bradshaw and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks are both playing their former team for the first time in regular season play.
Bradshaw was a running back for the Giants for six seasons, and during his time he won two Super Bowls with the team. In 84 career games with the Giants he rushed for 4,232 yards and 32 touchdowns while adding 1,087 yards and 3 touchdowns receiving. He notched two 1,000 yard rushing seasons in six years in New York. This year he is in his second season with the Colts, and in 11 games for Indy he has rushed for 557 yards and 4 touchdowns and added 806 yards and 6 scores receiving. This year he has been a huge part of the Colts offense, and midway through the season he is on pace to rush for 742 yards and 4 touchdowns while averaging 4.9 yards per carry and catch 62 passes for 528 yards and 12 touchdowns. He's easily on pace for his best receiving season ever, and in fact his 6 touchdowns are only three behind the NFL record for a running back - and Bradshaw still has eight more games to go. He's having a great season for the Colts and is a huge part of their offense, and that's no surprise to Giants fans that watched him do the same thing for several years.
"I've looked forward to it all year to be able to go back to New York and play," Bradshaw said on Thursday. "But like I said, it's another opponent. As long as we can stay focused this week and prepare right, I think we'll be fine."
Bradshaw expanded on that thought when talking with the New York media, as the New York Times' Bill Pennington writes, as the running back reflected on being cut by the Giants. "It just hurt me because that was my family," Bradshaw said. "I was a big part of that team. I gave everything I could to the Giants. Injury-wise, I gave my all whenever I was out there, hurt or not. When I left, I didn't know at first why. I still felt like I had a lot of football left."
Another former Giant who is returning to face his former team is wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who is also a member of the Colts now. Nicks spent five seasons with New York, playing in 70 games and catching 311 passes for 4,622 yards and 27 touchdowns while being part of a Super Bowl championship team. Nicks had two 1,000+ yard receiving seasons and one season with double-digit touchdown catches with the Giants. After a couple years as one of the league's best receivers, Nicks' play dropped off as he dealt with injuries, and so far with the Colts he hasn't shown anything resembling the Nicks of old like many hoped. In fact, through eight games he has caught 18 passes for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. So he's on pace for 36 catches, 336 yards, and 4 touchdowns on the season, and that would be 11 catches and 356 yards less than his previous season-lows that he set with the Giants. Like Bradshaw, Nicks is a former Giant who produced for the team, but unlike Bradshaw, Nicks hasn't produced for the Colts.
"I got a little warmup feeling for that in the preseason," Nicks said of playing the Giants, "but I'm used to it now. I'm a Colt. I like it here. I cherish my time I had in New York, but like I said, that's in the past. It's a new season, I'm a Colt now and I look forward to going out there and playing on the big stage where it all got started for me."
In the preseason, the Colts took on the Giants in Indianapolis and Nicks had easily his most productive day as a Colt, catching 5 passes for 53 yards in limited work while playing as the number one wideout. He hasn't done anything close to that since, but the Colts are hoping that he can have a repeat in this game against the Giants.
Ultimately, two former Giants are returning to play in their former home and against their former team this week. Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks combined to play in 154 games for the Giants in 11 seasons, and they combined for 9,941 yards and 62 touchdowns and have three Super Bowl rings between them from the Giants' two recent titles. On Monday night, however, they'll be playing for the Colts.
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