WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Veteran NFL receiver Hakeem Nicks decided this offseason that persistently lobbying New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton for a job gave him the best chance at salvaging his career.The 28-year-old Nicks, who participated in his first practice of Saints training camp on Friday, is coming off several seasons in which his production dipped far below the standard he set early in his career with the New York Giants. But Nicks sounds confident that the prolific offense designed by Payton, and executed by quarterback Drew Brees, provides the perfect platform for his resurgence.If you look at the offenses I was in when I had most of my production throughout my career, I felt like this offense fit my skill set the best, Nicks said. And who else to do it with than coach Sean Payton. Hes a brainiac when it comes to offenses, and I would love to play for him.Nicks, who worked out for the Saints this offseason, is taking a spot on the 90-man preseason roster that opened up when New Orleans placed Vincent Brown on injured reserve. In recent months, Nicks said hed been sending Payton texts almost weekly in an effort to persuade the coach to give him a chance. Sometimes, those texts said something like, Lets Hunt. Other times, they included video of Nicks training.Hes obviously an experienced receiver. Hes in good shape. And he was kind of on a short list if we had a roster opening, Payton said of Nicks. Plus, he wouldnt stop texting me.Nicks posted 1,000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011 with the Giants under then-offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, but he has been far less productive since and at this point is far from being guaranteed a regular-season roster spot.I know the situation, Nicks said. Im a man and I know what Ive got to do.Two seasons ago, Nicks left New York for Indianapolis, joining Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. But Nicks wound up having one of the least productive seasons of his career, catching 38 passes for 405 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games. He then went to Tennessee, but said he had a preseason knee injury that he kept quiet about and rejoined the Giants in midseason, finishing 2015 with seven catches for 54 yards.Payton said Hicks dip in production could have resulted from a variety of factors, including the systems in which he played.Each situations different ... but I cant speak specifically to his (snaps) or reasons why maybe there were certain attempts thrown his way, Payton said. Its an opportunity for him to come in and kind of find his role, if you will, a little bit -- work for a role within this system, which is a little different than maybe other places hes been.Nicks said his recent dip in production motivated him to ramp up his study of pro football.I was learning the business, Nicks said. I hadnt had much success since Id been with coach Gilbride. Being younger, you think you can just go fit in anywhere, any offense. I was oblivious. ... So as I got older and started talking to some older guys that had been in the league, you know, youve got to fit your skill set. So I started studying some offenses and I feel like this is the best fit.Nicks also said he has continued to focus on recovering from last years knee injury since leaving the Giants a second time.Ive spent my whole offseason from January up until now, rehabbing and training. So I put a lot of work into it, Nicks said. The opportunity came and Im ready for it.Game notes Rookie receiver Michael Thomas drew high praise from teammates and coaches after making a lunging, off-balance, one-handed catch of a long Luke McCown pass along the left sideline during 11-on-11 drills. Thomas, a former Ohio State standout drafted in the second round last spring, corralled the ball with his left hand while tumbling into the end zone. That was really an amazing play, Payton said. ... The Saints have signed offensive lineman John Fullington, who plays center and guard. He replaces lineman Tony Carter, who was waived with an unspecified injury.---AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Air Max 90 Cheap Wholesale . Inter president Erick Thohir says in a club statement on Wednesday that Vidic is "one of the worlds best defenders and his qualities, international pedigree, and charisma will be an asset. Air Max 90 Wholesale . 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Ferrer, trying to win his fourth title on Mexican soil, will next play South Africas Kevin Anderson, who eliminated American Sam Querrey,7-6 (2), 6-4. Also Wednesday, Gilles Simon (6) of France beat Donald Young of the United States 6-4, 6-3, Ukraines Alexandr Dolgopolov downed Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4 and Croatias Ivo Karlovic defeated Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6 (4), 6-2. SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- An upstate New York high school football team preparing for its first playoff game as a combined unit has lost all of its equipment in a fire.Schenectady Police Sgt. Matt Dearing tells the Times Union of Albany (http://bit.ly/2ep9dD2 ) that a fire engulfed the field house early Friday at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons. Investigators believe someone broke in and set the fire.University at Albany head football coach Greg Gattuso is asking each football coach across the Albany area to donate oone full uniform to help Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons get on the field for Saturdays game.ddddddddddddThe university also has asked the NCAA for a waiver to loan any equipment still needed to help the team, which also includes players from Spa Catholic and Central Catholic.---This story has been corrected with the last name of the Schenectady police spokesman as Dearing, not Terry. 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