The Packers have told Collins that he will be released.
“From the beginning of this process, we have taken our time and sought numerous medical opinions while maintaining consistent dialogue with Nick,” Packers general manager Ted Thompson said. “In the end, we were not comfortable clearing him to play again. As with all of our players, Nick is a member of our family and we thought of him that way as we came to this conclusion.”
The eight-year veteran, one of the most popular and productive players on the Packers defense, suffered a neck injury in the second game last year at Carolina, missed the remainder of the season and had neck surgery.
Since that time, the question about whether Collins would ever play again has been a hot topic. Both Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Thompson didn’t get behind the “let Nick Collins play again” banner and, in fact, had come out with comments that suggested they wanted him to retire rather than risk another injury.
To date, Collins hasn’t come out and said he would come back in play, whether it would have been for the Packers or for another team. That issue is still to be determined. However, even his agent, Alan Herman, had hinted that he didn’t want Collins to continue with his career.
Collins was due to make $4.05 million in salary and bonuses this season. The Packers will gain $3.05 million under their salary cap, giving them roughly $12 million of cap space heading into the draft. The Packers also gained $5.5 million when they released tackle Chad Clifton earlier this week.
The eight-year veteran was elected to three straight Pro Bowls from 2008-’10. He recorded 419 tackles, 21 interceptions for 507 return yards and four touchdowns in his career.
Once released, should Collins want to continue his career he will be open to signing with any team that wants to take a risk.
Did the Packers err on the side of caution on this one? There have been other players who suffered the same type of injury who came back and played. None of them suffered any serious injuries afterward.
However, for the Packers, I feel this was probably the right move.
As good as Collins was for the team, it’s time to move on.
And we wish the best of luck to Nick Collins in all his future endeavors – just don’t make those endeavors with the Vikings, Bears or Lions, please!
The official press release from the Green Bay Packers’ public relations department follows:
PACKERS RELEASE S COLLINS
The Green Bay Packers have released S Nick Collins. The transaction was announced Wednesday by Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson.
Collins, who was selected by the Packers with the first of two second-round selections (No. 51 overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft, went on to appear in 95 games (all starts) at free safety during his seven-year career in Green Bay. During that time, he amassed 498 tackles (388 solo), 21 interceptions, including four returned for touchdowns, 83 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
From 2008-10, Collins ranked second among all NFL players with 439 interception return yards and was tied for second among safeties with 17 INTs over that span. In 2008, he set a franchise record with 295 INT return yards and became the first NFL safety since 1986 to return three INTs for TDs in a season.
In 2010, Collins became the first Packers safety since LeRoy Butler to earn a bid to three consecutive Pro Bowls, and capped his season with a 37-yard INT return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLV. He missed just three games in his first six seasons in the league, but was sidelined for the final 14 contests of 2011 after suffering a season-ending neck injury at Carolina in Week 2.
“From the beginning of this process, we have taken our time and sought numerous medical opinions while maintaining consistent dialogue with Nick,” Thompson said. “In the end, we were not comfortable clearing him to play again. As with all of our players, Nick is a member of our family and we thought of him that way as we came to this conclusion.
“Nick is a part of our core, and this is a very difficult day for all Packers. Making this kind of decision is never easy, especially when it involves someone like Nick Collins. He has meant so much to the community, his teammates and the organization. He is a good man and will always be part of the Packers family.”