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Irvin Talks Nicks, Receivers

The Daily News interviewed Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin about Hakeem Nicks and the Giants receiving corp:

Daily News: I know you’ve heard about Butch Davis comparing Hakeem Nicks to you. I was wondering what your thoughts were on that.

Michael Irvin: Well, first of all I’ve talked about Hakeem Nicks with coach ? with Jerry Jones. And we talked about the comments that Butch Davis made. I have seen him play. And I certainly respect Coach Davis. He spent enough time with me to know exactly what he believes looks like me. But man, am I that old already? That people are starting to say ‘He reminds me of Michael Irvin’? Wow. It’s a compliment, no doubt. But still ? I’m that old? How did I get that old? I’m just a kid, still. But honestly, when you get to that place where people start comparing other players to you, that really is a great compliment.

DN: It’s also a lot for the kid to live up to. Isn’t that a lot of pressure?

MI: Pressure is good at this stage. You want a guy to feel like ‘I have to live up to him,’ as opposed to ‘I’m just me. Let me be me.’ You want to live up to something, to standards that have been set ? something where he says ‘I want to be this’ or ‘I want to do that.’ Things that are beyond ‘Now you’ve got a fat check,’ ‘Now you’re making $5 million a year, ‘ ‘Now you’re making $10 million a year.’ There are things that are beyond that. And I’m talking about, you want a guy to feel pressure to be great all the time.

DN: He’ll have some pressure anyway being in New York and with the Giants losing two starting receivers in the offseason.

MI: Yeah. And again, you talk about the pressure of saying he’s like Michael Irvin, there is the pressure of filling the shoes that have just departed the Giants. Regardless of what you think of (Plaxico Burress) personally, you can’t say much about him professionally because he showed up and made plays. And without him, you can see that you are not you, talking about the Giants. They couldn’t get it done without him last year. So there’s going to be some pressure on Hakeem Nicks to replace those shoes.

DN : You said you’ve seen him play. What do you like about him, and do you see any of yourself in him?

MI: I see the aggressiveness. You can tell when you watch him play that he loves playing the game. I would love to spend time with him to get a gauge on his intellectual property about the game. You know, that will make all the difference in the world. That’s the key. There ain’t no ’sometimes.’ It’s all the time. I tell people all the time, if you’re a good player you’ll play ‘shoulders down’ and rely on your physical gifts. But if you are a great player you are playing ‘shoulders up’ and you’ll rely on what you know, what you see and what you study.

DN: You know what happened with the Giants last year, and now they head into a season without a proven replacement for Plaxico Burress. How tough will that be for them, and are you surprised they didn’t add a veteran receiver?

MI: No, not surprised. Floored and shocked. I’m floored and shocked that you didn’t go get Braylon Edwards all Anquan Boldin. I really am. Both of them are very g ood guys and I think they would’ve fit perfectly in their scheme. So I am shocked that they did not go get those guys.

DN: Was that the only way they could have really replaced Plaxico?

MI: Yeah. So now the pressure is on Nicks to perform. Them not signing another receiver makes the pressure mount.

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