Nick Collins was among the best young safeties in the NFL when a neck injury ended his football career in 2011. Or so it seemed.
Collins, 30, was in the midst of three straight Pro Bowl seasons (2008-2010) with the Green Bay Packers when he suffered the career-threatening neck injury. The Packers released Collins that offseason, with general manager Ted Thompson fearing that the playmaker would never be able to play again. Now, Collins is out to prove that notion wrong.
After two seasons away from the game, Collins announced via Twitter on Monday that he would be making a comeback for the 2014 season.
Nickdapick36 is ready for action.—
Nick Collins (@nickdapick36) February 03, 2014
Who's looking for a top notch free safety. This kid is ready to dominate #2014—
Nick Collins (@nickdapick36) February 04, 2014
A second-round pick of the Packers out of Bethune-Cookman in 2005, Collins immediately assumed a job as a starter in the Packers’ secondary, starting all 16 games at safety. Following three solid seasons to begin his career, Collins emerged as one of the game’s best defenders in 2008, setting career highs with seven interceptions and three touchdown returns en route to being selected as a second-team All-Pro (his first of three consecutive). He followed that up with stellar 2009 and 2010 seasons, which featured 10 combined interceptions and a 37-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV win.
Plenty of teams are in need of secondary help this offseason, and a 2010 version of Collins could be the final piece to the puzzle for a contender. But the big question will be whether Collins can still be the same player. Peyton Manning’s return from serious neck surgery should at least offer some confidence.
Photo via Twitter/@Nickdapick36