Nicholas Cardell Collins was born Aug. 16, 1983.
The boy would eventually grow into the man that would be the recipient of the 2009 Ed Block Courage Award – an award voted on by his teammates for being a role model of inspiration, sportsmanship and courage.
Nick Collins was an exceptional athlete at Dixie County High School in Cross City, Fla. Not only did Collins letter twice as a quarterback, running back and a defensive back but he also was named to the first team all-conference and named an MVP as a senior.
Collins did this while lettering twice as a guard on the hardwood and bringing in three letters as the baseball team’s center fielder.
The multi-talented athlete took his game to the campus of Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Fla. During the 2002 season, Collins spent most of his time as a reserve linebacker. The final two games of the season saw him promoted to the starting strong safety.
2003 saw Collins explode onto the scene as the Wildcat’s starting free safety. Collins led the Mid-Eastern conference with six interceptions. In “Collins” style one of his six picks was a pick-six and garnered him to an all-conference selection.
Ted Thompson has been known to select players from small schools and scouts let him know about the second-round, fifty-first overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. Most “experts” agreed that Nick Collins was “picked too high, very athletic but raw raising the question of his ability to fully grasp the NFL”.
Couple this with filling the void that longtime Packers great Darren Sharper left behind and Collins started his professional career with the cards fully-stacked against him.
During his rookie campaign Collins picked a fine time to shine under the bright lights. On a Monday night game against the Vikings, Collins had an interception and recorded 11 tackles. He would go on to finish his rookie season with 84 tackles, 1 interception and 2 forced fumbles.
The sophomore slump did not come into play as Collins would tally 80 tackles, 3 interceptions and another 2 forced fumbles in his second season with the Pack.
During the 2008 NFL season, which would be the first of three Pro Bowl seasons for Collins, saw his game soar. During the first nine games of the season he was able to produce 5 interceptions while taking 3 all-the-way-to-the-house. A total of 7 interceptions along with 3 touchdowns and 295 return yards had “experts” stuttering on their once spoken words regarding Ted Thompson’s second round selection of Nick Collins.
Collins would again pick off a staggering six passes in the 2009 season which led him to yet another Pro Bowl.
On Sept. 18, 2011, in a game against the Carolina Panthers Collins was carted off the field with a severe neck injury. It was a day many Packers fans will never forget. The class act organization that is the Green Bay Packers took the approach of a father protecting a son and discontinued the career of Nick Collins in exchange for his future quality of life.
Nick Collins played seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers and accumulated a great stat sheet. With a total of 419 tackles, 21 interceptions and 4 touchdowns. A role the Packers have been reeling to duplicate ever since.
— Nick Collins (@nickdapick36) August 20, 2014
His announcement tonight was an event many had already accepted as official.
We can wish nothing but the best for Nick Collins in all of his future endeavors.
Nick Collins career highlights …