It all started with a tweet:
Who's looking for a top notch free safety. This kid is ready to dominate #2014
— Nick Collins (@nickdapick36) February 4, 2014
Just like that, a Nick Collins return to football seemed imminent. Since suffering a neck injury in week 2 of the 2011 season, Collins has been bound and determined to get back on the playing field. Here's a quick look at some possible destinations for the Super Bowl Champion free safety.
Packers - the first team that comes to mind obviously since Collins has played every single snap of his NFL career in Green and Gold. To top it off, the Packers are in desperate need of improved play at safety. It seems this match would be a perfect fit. But, the Packers notoriously cautious medical staff (see collarbone - Rodgers, Aaron) is unlikely to give clearance for Collins to suit up. At the time of the injury Collins was 28 years old, and at 30 now has age working against him as well. Mike McCarthy is on record saying if Nick Collins was his son he would not let him play. As much as everyone on the JS Comments board wants Collins back in Green Bay, it just isn't happening.
Possibility: Dikembe Mutobmo finger wave (not in Ted's House)
Bears - Of Chicago's two safeties, one is a free agent(Major Wright) and the other(Chris Conte) was so inconsistent Bears fans took to harassing a Nashville television reporter after his gaffes. It's hard to imagine Conte lining up in the Bears secondary after turning Randall Cobb loose for the game winning touchdown. Particularly in the NFC North with pass oriented Detriot and Green Bay, top notch safety play is a must. Plus it would continue the trend of division rivals gambling on former Packers players (see Vikings, Minnesota).
Texans - Houston gambled on a clearly washed up Ed Reed last season and the results were disastrous to the point where they now own the #1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. It's hard to say what philosophy new coach Bill O'Brien will bring to Houston. But he did spend five years in New England under Bill Belichick who was notorious for taking veteran players no other team wanted and squeezing a few more years of success out of them (see Dillon, Corey and Moss, Randy). The Texans have one of the best front seven defensive fronts in the league. The pressure they cause could help ease Collins back onto the field where he doesn't feel pressed to make big plays every down.
Possibility: Never say never
Chiefs - With three safeties set to be free agents in 2014 in Kendrick Lewis, Quintin Demps and Husain Abdullah, Kansas City will be in the market at safety. But wait there's more. The GM in Kansas City is none other than former Packers Director of College Scouting and Director of Player Personnel John Dorsey. Dorsey played a large part in drafting Nick Collins in the second round of the 2005 draft and could be persuaded into taking another chance to help his new team.
Possibility: So you're saying there's a chance?
The road back to the NFL will be a long one for Nick Collins. When healthy he was one of the premier defensive backs in the league. However under the back drop of recent litigation the NFL has faced regarding player safety, particularly for head and neck trauma, it seems to be a long shot a team can justify taking a chance on him. Whether Collins returns to the field in 2014 or after, Packer fans will always have this moment.
- Neal Olson
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