Earlier this offseason, former Colts wide receiver Austin Collie announced his retirement from playing pro football, as he will instead work at a concussion research clinic in Utah.
It was a series of concussions that derailed his NFL career, and today he wrote a piece for Bleacher Report about his career with the Colts and those concussions. It's a tremendous read that is well worth your time.
Collie writes about his serious concussion in 2010 in Philadelphia in which he was knocked out for several minutes (a very frightening moment I'm sure many Colts fans remember), as well as the ensuing concussions that he later suffered. He wrote about how his injury history derailed his career and caused teams to shy away from him and media to call for him to retire (one of our article headlines was even included in the article). But through it all, Collie also talked about his memories playing for the Colts and how it was very enjoyable.
And other than starting a family and serving my church mission, nothing has been more gratifying and rewarding as my four years as a member of the Colts. It was the time of my life and everything I pictured as a little kid.
Collie also wrote about how he had great timing with Andrew Luck in 2012 and was going to be the team's number two receiver until he tore his patellar tendon in his first game.
I was slotted to be the No. 2 receiver behind Reggie Wayne that year, and I felt Andrew Luck and I were on the same page entering the season. I thought I was going to have an awesome contract year and put all this concussion stuff behind me. So while that knee injury didn't necessarily launch me into that downward spiral, it was the cherry on top for teams that began to conclude—understandably so—that I simply couldn't stay healthy.
It would have been very interesting to see how Austin Collie did with Andrew Luck and the Colts offense in 2012 if he had stayed healthy, as Collie seems to think he was poised for a big year - and odds are that, if he was healthy, he could have had such a season. In his first three seasons with the Colts (2009-2011), he recorded 172 catches for 1,839 yards and 16 touchdowns (averaging 10.7 yards per catch), and that's despite missing several games due to his concussions in 2010. With Luck coming to Indy and with Collie projected as the number two receiver, he could have had a nice year. Instead, he suffered a knee injury and didn't play again for the Colts. That allowed guys like Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton to see more playing time, and of course it allowed Reggie Wayne to have a Pro Bowl year (though that probably would have happened regardless of Collie's health).
Collie also mentioned getting to be in the same huddle as Peyton Manning and some of the other Colts players as making his career worth it (Manning and Collie played together in 2009 and 2010 and were teammates in 2011).
Will thoughts of what could have been occasionally cross my mind? Of course, but I tend to believe that things happen for a reason, and I know I got to do a lot of things that not a lot of people get to do. I went to a Super Bowl, and I was surrounded by legends. I remember my first time in a huddle with Peyton Manning and the rest of that Colts offense, looking around at all of the players in that huddle, and my mind was blown.
To be able to say that I was in that huddle makes it worth it to me. Now, it's time for me to realize new dreams and possibly help others do the same.
Ultimately, it's unfortunate to see Collie's career completely derailed by injuries, as he was turning into a very good possession receiver for the Colts who just couldn't stay healthy. He spent a stint in the CFL last year but decided it was time to retire after the season, as he now will spend time working on concussions to help other people. It's cool to see him making the most of his time and circumstances, and we wish him the best in the next step in his life.