It's not a given, but I'd love to check With incredible 10 1⁄2-inch hands, Nicks catching fire for Giants By LENN ROBBINS Last Updated: 8:44 AM, January 19, 2012 You know what they say about guys with big hands? They make big catches big playoff catches, historic catches. They catch passes off their helmets. They catch passes with one hand on the bottom of the ball as its moving away from them. They catch passes with one hand, then go around the back and switch it to the other hand. If a good man is hard to find, what value does the NFL place on a receiver with big hands, deceptive speed and a driving desire to be the best football player on the field? Giants fans will tell you there is no dollar amount that can be placed on Hakeem Nicks, whose 10 1⁄2-inch hands are 3 inches larger than those of the average man. Packers fans will tell you there is no depth to the grief Nicks inflicted on them late in Sundays first half with his Hail Hakeem 37-yard touchdown pass, the one he pulled in with his size 4X, red Spider-Man-looking gloves. 49ers fans are hoping Nicks misses the team plane for Sundays NFC Championship because its becoming apparent the only way to secure those hands is with police cuffs. Its always been this way for Hakeem Big Hands Nicks. He made a catch against Duke, a one-handed catch off his helmet, that when he got to the sidelines I just looked at him and we just laughed, Nicks former North Carolina teammate and good friend Greg Little of the Cleveland Browns told The Post. So when he made that catch against Green Bay, I just said, Thats just Hakeem being Hakeem. Nicks, 24, quietly has established himself as one of the best young receivers in Giants history. But not until Big Hands made that Hail Hakeem grab to give the Giants a 20-10 lead en route to a 37-20 victory did he have his signature NFL moment. The catch has been viewed viewed on YouTube more than 33,000 times. There are other receivers fast enough to have gotten downfield, with the ability to jump high enough, to concentrate hard enough. But few have what sets Nicks apart his hands. They look like two outfielders gloves chasing a fly ball. When the Giants lined up for that play I was thinking, I hope they throw it up to Hakeem, former North Carolina coach Butch Davis said. Because Ive seen him catch passes one-handed on balls four feet over his head the hand on the back of the ball as its moving away from him that left me stunned. When he made that catch Hakeem in a jump ball, with those hands it was no surprise. Those hands. Allstate really needs to sign Nicks to an endorsement deal. When I first met the guy, I shook his hand ... his finger was up here, said teammate Victor Cruz, pointing to his wrist. I was just like, I know hes got to be with his size and strength an absolute monster. Obviously, any time your hands are just about as big as the actual width of a football, its always an advantage. ... Its just amazing to watch him play. Little is convinced the 6-foot-1 Nicks was given the wrong set of hands at birth. The first time we measured it wasnt even close. It was a joke, said Little. Ive seen hands like that on a defensive lineman, or a tackle. But a wide receiver? Larry Fitzgerald, maybe. Fitzgerald was the third overall pick in the 2004 draft. Nicks was the 29th pick in 2009, behind receivers Darius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin. How many general managers would like to get a mulligan on that draft? Hakeem doesnt care about that, said Davis. When he decided to come out after his junior season it was because he felt he had gone as far as he could go in college and he wanted to take care of his family. It wasnt about the money. ... It wasnt because he wanted to buy an Escalade or go to Vegas. He wanted to become the best football player he could be and take care of his family. The last game Nicks played for Carolina was the 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl. He made eight catches for 217 yards and scored three touchdowns. But it was one of the catches that didnt go for a score that was nominated as the best catch of the year in college football. Nicks was running a quick crossing route, right to left. The pass was thrown low and behind him. Nicks stuck out his left hand and snagged the ball. His route was taking him in the opposite direction of the pass and a West Virginia defender was closing fast. Nicks put the ball behind his back, switching it from his left hand to his right. The West Virginia defender, Pat Lazear, stopped, certain it would be a drop. When Nicks was tackled and the play over, Lazear brought his hands to the sides of his helmet as if hed suffered a migraine. Davis has compared Nicks to former University of Miami and Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin for his strength, hands and willingness to do anything to win. On Ahmad Bradshaws run that set up the Hail Hakeem, Nicks was 15 yards downfield, blocking Packers safety Tramon Williams into the sidelines. Our offensive coordinator at North Carolina, John Shoop, had this saying, When you step on the field, be the best football player you can be, Little said. Not be the best receiver; be the best football player. Thats what Hakeem is all about. Little said Nicks carries a pocket-sized diary, which disappears in those 10 1⁄2-inch hands. Hell read some scripture before every game. Little remembered being a freshman at Chapel Hill, no car and no clue. Nicks befriended him, showing him where to eat, how to get the right books. But there is one thing Nicks cant hand down, and those are his hands. As Tom Coughlin said, These are special hands.