Nearly three years after he last played a game in the NFL, Nick Collins officially announced his retirement on Tuesday. “I’m officially announced my retirement from the #NFL. I also would like to thank my family, friends, and the Packer Nation for the love and support.” Collins suffered what turned out to be a career-ending neck injury while making a tackle against Carolina on Sept. 18, 2011.
Collins, a surprise second-round pick from Bethune-Cookman in 2005 who went on to intercept 21 passes, score four touchdowns and play in three Pro Bowls, will go down as one of the greatest safeties to ever wear a Packers uniform. In the 35 years that I’ve followed the team, only LeRoy Butler played the position better. I’ve even heard people – including Mike McCarthy – opine that Collins was on a path to the Hall of Fame at the time of his injury. I always thought that was a bit hyperbolic. He would’ve had to play a lot better in his late 20s and early 30s than he played in mid 20s to even have a chance at getting to Canton. And that very rarely happens in the NFL.
But today is not the day to debate Collins’ place among the greats of the game. Today is the day for Packers fans to appreciate all that he accomplished in just over six seasons in the National Football League. And today is a day for Packers fans to thank him once again for providing one of the most memorable moments in the history of this iconic franchise. I don’t have to tell you any more. Just sit back and enjoy: