Where In The World Is Nick Collins?

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Former Packer Nick Collins
Former Packers safety Nick Collins after his touchdown in Super Bowl XLV

Just like that, it was over.

It was an abrupt and all too soon ending to the career of Nick Collins in Green Bay.  It was a career that gave fans a play in Super Bowl XLV that will be in their memory banks forever and Collins was arguably the best safety the Green Bay Packers have had since Leroy Butler retired.

Unfortunately, thanks to a poor hand dealt by the football gods, Collins’ days as a Packer (and perhaps even an NFL player) came to an end at a time of neither his nor the Packers’ choosing even though it was the Packers that released him.

Thanks to a frightening neck injury suffered in Week 2 last season against the Carolina Panthers, the Packers felt like playing Collins again would be too much of a health risk for the safety so they released him with Collins’ long-term health foremost in their minds.

Since that day, little has been heard from Collins regarding his future in the NFL.  A comeback with the Packers won’t happen given the selection of Jerron McMillan in the fourth round of this spring’s NFL draft.

So what is to become of Collins? There are a few theories.

The one that seems to be the most popular is that Collins will, or more accurately should, call it a career and not risk further injury.   A neck injury is not something that should be messed around with and that it takes only one more hit to have severe long-term repercussions including the possibility of some form of paralysis.   While Collins may be able to get back into playing shape, it is unclear if he will ever be able to return to his All Pro form before the injury occurred.

Even if Collins does want to play, will any of the other 31 teams want to take a risk on him? With such an increased focus in NFL circles about head and neck injuries (including a lawsuit by a collection of former players), can they pay Collins even just the veteran minimum and maintain a clean conscience about what they are potentially exposing him too?

Collins has all but fallen off the radar as training camp approaches, so it is a distinct possibility he has decided to call it a career and ride off quietly into the sunset.  He has been somewhat active on Twitter (@NickThePick36) but there has been no mention of the resumption of his career.

So what will Collins do? No one knows, perhaps not even Collins himself.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.


9 thoughts on “Where In The World Is Nick Collins?

  1. If Collins decides he wants to play in the NFL again, and he can pass a physical, he will. He is a rare talent and the great majority of teams would be better at the S position with Nick in the lineup, even if he were only at 85% of his former self.

    I don’t think many, if any, teams outside the Packers would blink an eye at putting Collins on the field for fear of re-injury. I simply don’t think most teams care. It’s a high impact sport where players end up crippled frequently- if not now, then later in life.

    I have to believe that either his neck is not in as good of condition as he has reported, or he’s quietly retired,

  2. I’ll miss Nick’s opportunistc style of play. He was the glue that held the DB’s together. His choice is simple but difficult. Give up the game that means so much to him or risk his future quality of life. That’s got to be hell. I hope the Pack will find a place for him in the organization when ever he’s ready.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with Collins being missed, but I’d disagree with the rest.

      Collin’s decision should be the EASIEST decision he’s ever made. Yeah, I understand the whole “love of the game” and all, really I do. I also have some personal experience caring for paraplegics who are condemned to wheelchairs for the rest of their (shortened) lives. Believe me, if there is any legitimate concern, it is not even a decision at all. Walk away, Nick. Just walk away.

      My second comment will undoubtedly land me in even deeper doo-doo. Don’t “find a place” in the organization for ANYONE just because he was a great player. Hire him only if he is truly the best candidate available. I have no way at all of knowing that Collins would be anything more than a great PLAYER.

      So here’s what gets me in the deepest doo-doo: “Hire the best guy available – period – even if he used to play for the Bears.”

      God, it hurts even just to say that. But it’s true.

      1. It’s an easier decision to quit smoking cigarettes or change to a low-cholesterol diet- two health decisions millions of people DON’T make every day that are statistically far more dangerous to your health than the risks Collins would face if he decided to play pro football after his procedure.

        Also, most people wouldn’t say that the act of smoking or eating fatty foods defines who they are. For some of these athletes, they ARE football players, always have been, and feel lost at sea without that in their lives.

        I’m not saying Collins SHOULD play, just pointing out that it’s extremely easy to say it should be the easiest decision he’s ever made. Most of us fail to make far easier decisions with consequences that are far more likely to befall us on a daily basis.

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  3. I take a lot of risks and get paid about 100,000 a year… Football players get paid millions in a year…. sheesh I suppose maybe they could take a risk or two aye…..

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