GREEN BAY – While Nick Collins’ career with the Green Bay Packers is over, the three-time Pro Bowl safety is still considering his options and deciding whether or not to continue his NFL career, agent Alan Herman said Thursday.
The Packers released Collins last Friday. He could decide to retire from football, or he could try to pursue playing with another club.
At the NFL Draft on Saturday, coach Mike McCarthy spoke of how difficult it was for him on a personal level to release both Collins and veteran left tackle Chad Clifton, who was cut two days before Collins. McCarthy went so far as to say that Collins was off to a Pro Football Hall of Fame-caliber start to his career.
"That is something you never get used to. That was a hard week starting with Chad on Monday and Nick, both with medical situations that led to that decision,” McCarthy said. “Nick Collins, you look at the beginning of his resume, he had a heck of a chance to go to Canton. Just the way he was starting the first half of his career. But that was not the tough part at all. Because it wasn't a professional decision. It was clearly a personal decision specifically with Nick Collins.
“Just based on the information, as an organization, (GM) Ted Thompson and I sat down and the final question gets asked: if Nick was your son, would you let him play? So, that's why we made the decision we did. And the same with Chad. Chad Clifton is going to be missed around here. You're talking about two great guys in the locker room, wonderful human beings, excellent teammates. Two men that we would classify as core players. They're a big part of the way our locker room is. We take a lot of pride in the culture and the way we go about things and Chad and Nick exemplified that to the max."
Collins played in 102 career games (including playoffs) with the Packers and delivered one of the signature plays in the team’s Super Bowl XLV triumph after the 2010 season: A 37-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Packers’ 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Collins, who suffered a herniated disc in his neck Sept. 18 at Carolina and underwent spinal fusion surgery thereafter. The Packers sent Collins to a number of other specialists in order to gather multiple opinions on whether Collins should be cleared to return to action.
The doctor who performed Collins’ surgery, Dr. Frank Camissa, and the Packers’ team doctor, Dr. Pat McKenzie, had their own input on Collins’ future but also presented those other opinions to Collins.
In the end, the Packers decided they weren’t comfortable with Collins resuming his football career with them. If Collins decides to attempt to continue playing with another team, he would have to convince one of the league’s other 31 teams to pass him on his physical and let him play.
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