Nick Collins: Is a comeback worth it?

Nick Collins in congratulated by former Packers safety LeRoy Butler following an interception Collins returned for a touchdown. Will Collins make the decision to wear #36? Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Next week, the future will be determined for one Nick Collins.

My hope is that he has played his final game with the Green Bay Packers.

Here’s why I hope Collins is done.

The Packers safety who took a header in the second game at Carolina last year, followed that with surgery that left him sidelined for the season and could potentially end his career.

When Collins meets with the Packers, a decision about whether he will play football again will be made. His agent, Alan Herman, sent a text message to ESPN today, saying, “(co-agent) Dave Butz and I will travel next week to meet with the Packers. That is the plan. Decision will be made after that.”

The exact date and time of Collins’ meeting was not released.

Collins is not interested in making this decision a public spectacle … and I’m glad. This is going to be a difficult decision and a personal one at that. While our interest is strong, we’ve got to respect his decision – period.

If it’s up to head coach Mike McCarthy and Herman, Collins would go home. The coach came out last week questioning a comeback by his three-time All Pro and his agent also wondered.

The results of Collins’ medical exams conducted last week are not available, so one can only guess about his final decision.

Here’s what Herman thinks:

“You can feel great, but when you take a look at these MRIs there are things that (could) pop up and that are sometimes cause for concern. You may be able to do what everybody else does, but can you go out and play football based on what the MRI looks like in terms of the residual damage with these injuries? That’s what it comes down to. If you ask him how he feels, he’ll tell you he can go out and play football, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that his body can withstand the tackling.”

If Collins decides to return, will he be anywhere near where he was prior to his injury? How tentative will he be? Might he be in danger of not being an automatic starter? In fact, would he indeed be challenged to even make the team?

All questions that won’t be answered until next week.

It’s a win-win should Collins not come back. The Packers can move on and utilize the draft to bolster the defensive backfield. However, be sure that the loss of Collins last season was a major blow to the Packers defense. He was the glue that held that D together and his loss was sorely felt.

Filling the gap will be one of the team’s major challenges. They have done some work in free agency to add depth to the defensive line, making linebacker, corner and safety important defensive positions to address.

Whatever Collins’ decision, the Packers face interesting problems. GM Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy have guided this organization to continued excellence. I highly doubt they are working to fail.

If Collins hangs ‘em up, he can move on to life after football and the Packers can get back to doing what they do best – drafting and developing.

That’s why I hope Nick Collins has played his last game with the Green Bay Packers.

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Tags: Alan Herman Carolina Panthers Dave Butz Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy MRI NFL Draft Nick Collins Ted Thompson

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