Colts coach Chuck Pagano confirmed today what most of us feared: Wide receiver Austin Collie did indeed suffer a concussion in last night's preseason loss to the Steelers. The concussion is his third (reportedly fourth - there may have been an unreported one in there as well) in the past two years, and it is time for him to consider life beyond football.
Three years ago Collie was a promising young receiving threat. Playing with Peyton Manning his first two seasons, Collie was quickly becoming one of the best slot receivers in the National Football League. Then, in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 7, 2011, Collie suffered his first concussion. It was a scary moment, seeing Collie lay motionless on the field before being carted off. After missing a few weeks, Collie returned. However, in his second game back, he suffered another concussion. The Colts shut him down for the remainder of the season.
Last year, Collie stayed healthy. It was one of the most positive spots of the season for the Colts. I thought that he could stay healthy this year, and that he would be a great threat for Andrew Luck. The two already had good chemistry, according to multiple reports out of camp. My Colts' fantasy sleeper of the year was Collie.
And then last night, in Pittsburgh, Luck delivered a nice pass to Collie, who brought it down for what was initially ruled a catch (replay later overturned it as the ball came out at the end). Collie slowly got up looking dazed, and he came off the field immediately. He was taken to the locker room, where he was tested for concussion like symptoms.
Our worst fears suddenly became a reality. Compared to this, football doesn't matter. This is a human being we are talking about, not just the very good receiver on your favorite football team. That is why I think Austin Collie should retire.
Look, I really like Collie. In fact, I like him too much to want him to go back out there and suffer yet another concussion. Football is a violent game. Collie is a very good player, but taking a risk with your brain is just too much. We all know that Collie is a family man - consider retiring for them.
There is no shame in saying that in three short years you caught 172 passes for 1,839 yards and 16 touchdowns. Collie averaged a first down per reception (10.7 YPC), many of them thrown by perhaps the greatest player in league history. He won an AFC Championship and played in a super bowl. All in three years.
Now is not the time nor the place to discuss whether the Colts should release Collie or not (I think that, unfortunately, they should). Now is the time to consider what is most important.
So Austin, please consider hanging up your cleats for good. I know it is an incredibly hard decision to make, but think of your family. You haven't let us Colts fans down. You have given us some great memories over these few short years. But now consider your family, your future. Consider what is most important. As tough as it may be, consider hanging it up.