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Packers Release Safety Nick Collins

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Packers Release Safety Nick Collins

According to both Jason Wilde from ESPN Milwaukee and Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Packers have informed safety Nick Collins that he will be released.

UPDATE: Packers GM Ted Thompson made Collins' release official Wednesday afternoon.

"From the beginning of this process, we have taken our time and sought numerous medical opinions while maintaining consistent dialogue with Nick,” Thompson said, via Silverstein. "In the end, we were not comfortable clearing him to play again. As with all of our players, Nick is a member of our family and we thought of him that way as we came to this conclusion.

“Nick is a part of our core, and this is a very difficult day for all Packers. Making this kind of decision is never easy, especially when it involves someone like Nick Collins. He has meant so much to the community, his teammates and the organization. He is a good man and will always be part of the Packers family.”

Silverstein reported that Green Bay is simply not comfortable with Collins playing again after the veteran safety underwent cervical fusion surgery last season to repair a bulging disc between his C3 and C4 vertebrae. Collins suffered the injury during the second half of Green Bay's Week 2 win over the Carolina Panthers. He was placed on IR soon after the freak injury.

Collins has visited numerous doctors and specialists over the last several months to help determine if he should continue playing in the NFL, but it appears as if the Packers failed to find a comfort level in the results. All along, the Packers' brass seemed uncomfortable with Collins playing again in the NFL.

Whether or not another team—or Collins, for that matter—has or will have a different opinion on his results is yet to be seen.

A second-round pick in 2005, Collins played seven years with the Packers. He recorded 21 career interceptions and was named to three straight Pro Bowls (2008-10). His interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLV was a turning point in Green Bay's eventual world championship.

In releasing the veteran safety, Green Bay will save $3.05 million in cap room for the 2012 season.

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DaveK's picture


Evan's picture


That really hurts.

Bearmeat's picture

Yep. If Nick can still play I'll be very disappointed with this decision.

I understand why it was made. But it severely hurts our D.

Don Hutson's picture

I wish Nick Collins could have continued. But I can't imagine how after such a devistating injury anyone could play with the same "abandon" required to be an elite safety. In all the cases where d-backfield players return from neck fusion from what I read there does seem to be a performance drop-off. It would be insane not to play with more caution to protect yourself from head-on spinal impacts, and does that take of some of the edge of excellence? I wish all success to Nick Collins in his future - even if that makes the Packer's decision look short sighted. Something had to happen, everyone has to move-on.

Chris's picture

Another great career ending early, good luck Nick Collins!

Evan's picture

Please don't go to an NFC North team.

Kelly's picture

I can't help but wonder if Nick simply ran out of time. That "converastion" with the Packers kept getting moved back and back. Makes me wonder if he was trying to find a specialist that would medically clear him to play after being told several times, "Sorry, but No."

mark's picture

This is a tough one. I'm so happy he got that ring though, and made an unforgettable play on the biggest stage.

Really going to miss you 36.

dat der Packer-backer's picture

Crushing. Why does it feel like he passed away? I wish you the best in the world, Nick, but hope the best comes off the field if it's truly that bad.

Woodson4president's picture

Loved Nick. Sad day to be a packers fan...

Evan's picture

Go get Asante Samuel and move Woodson to safety.

Kidding. Sorta.

Anthony's picture

I would like the move, since Asante would add another ball hawk to our secondary (Collins was too). But his salary is over $10mil next season, so... that's just too much.

Evan's picture

I'm sure any trade for Asante by any team would involve some sort of renegotiating.

Evan's picture

But it sounds like he's going to Atlanta anyway, so it's moot.

Anthony's picture

Potential trades always fall through, though, so I wouldn't rule it out just yet. Especially with Collins being released, I wouldn't doubt if the Packers try to get him. They've done several things this offseason we haven't seen in the past (signing Hargrove who is actually a good player but has character concerns -- both surprises in a packers pickup... signing an old veteran to fill in a spot -- Packers haven't done that since Woodson) ... So I wouldn't rule it out.

Evan's picture

I definitely would be surprised, but that's a good point about TT deviating a bit from his MO this off-season.

pkrNboro's picture

Samuel is too short, too old, and too expensive -- even if he doesn't sign with Atlanta, he's not a Ted Thompson type acquisition.

Woodson is too slow to play free safety, so he'd likely have to play run support. Which would be a worry at his age -- it's a punishing position. He'll likely stay in a 3rd CB/slot-blitzer role in his last year as a Packer.

PackersRS's picture

Poor tackling and over aggressiveness were the dooming factors of the secondary last year, and you want Samuel? Sorry, but the last thing the Packers need is an overpaid, old gambler that doesn't tackle. And a headcase, on top of it all.

There's a good reason he's being shipped out of Philadelphia, another good reason they're asking merely for a 5th, and an even better reason no one so far has made the trade.

Anthony's picture

...Wait, what? he's a "headcase"? I don't think he's ever been suspended or has done anything outrageous. If anything, he's been one of the good guys in this league. Yes, he may have been a little vocal, but nothing controversial by any means.

You call him old, yet he just turned 31 in January. Just a little over a year older than the age Woodson was when he came to the Packers.

You act as if he was a scrub. Yes, he was a ball-hawk, but his instinctual play was usually the right move to make. He isn't the best tackler, but what CB is? According to one of the best writers on bleacherreport, he was considered as the 19th best CB in the league last year.

In the past few years when our defense has been great, we've played a lot of man coverage so we can blitz. Samuel is one of the best at that.

And this kind of player for a 7th round draft pick, 3 years 18 million (which is what the Falcons gave them)? Come on, that is a steal.

Evan's picture

You do have to wonder why the Eagles were willing to give up such a player for just a 7th round pick though.

PackersRS's picture

They weren't.

They wanted a 5th. They waited a week for it.

They had to settle for a 7th. But that was a steal... The other 30 teams are just dumb.

Evan's picture

Wha? That's some twisted logic.

They clearly were willing to deal him for a 7th since they did so. They may have wanted a higher pick - I'm sure they would have loved a 1st for him - but they were willing to take a 7th and they did.

Bill's picture

Kelly, I think you hit the nail right on the head.

Tough loss for the Pack, we need to address it in the draft early.

Mojo's picture

The odds of drafting a safety in the early rounds just went way up.

I thought as a football player Nick was just so-so in the beginning but really progressed into one of the best at his position over the years. His interception return, and subsequent kneel-down celebration in the SB was one of my all-time favorite Packer moments.

Everything I have heard about Nick as a person has always be positive and I'll be rooting for him if he returns. Hopefully not to an NFC team though.

pkrNboro's picture

I doubt the Packers "reach" for a safety in upper rounds -- it's not a deep position this draft. Barron, IMO, would not be a good match for the Packers, as he's too similar to Burnett. Barron will be starter-quality early in his career, but he'll be exposed in coverage, as I've read he has average speed. After Barron, there are serious question marks at the safety position.

Seems like every year if there's a dearth of players at a certain position, the few remaining are snapped up too early. From a production standpoint, I think Barron will be OK, but he won't stand out much from his peers, which will make his selection in the 10 to 15 range questionable.

Nick expressed thanks to Woodson, for his help in reading film -- I think that contributed to his turn-around after a lackluster first few years.

While I liked the XLV pick-six, the "celebration" cost us 15 yards -- and that was one of your "all-time favorite Packer moments" ?

PackersRS's picture

I disagree. I think Barron is completely different from Burnett.

Burnett is the prototypical FS and Barron the SS.

My question regarding Barron is if he can cover slot receivers and TEs. I have no doubt he can play in the box, that he can deliver some hits and that he takes good angles, but it's gone the days of the SS. Unless you're Polamalu, if you're a liability in coverage as a DB, you can't start in the nfl.

pkrNboro's picture

I'm thinking Burnett is a different player after the ACL.

I don't remember any difference-making plays from last season, where his speed allowed him to run-a-play-down. Maybe two seasons removed from the injury will bring him closer to pre-injury status.

At his size (209), I think Burnett would be more the SS, and the other safety he's on the field with would be the lighter/faster one.

Barron ran a 4.5+ 40yd, which puts him on a par with TEs, but likely slower than many slot receivers.

I don't see enough to make the Packers go get him -- but what do I know? I'm just another GM-in-waiting, here at CHTV!

PackersRS's picture

He started the year strong last year, made that crucial stop at the goalline against the Saints, then had a sack and an int against Carolina and 2 ints against Chicago.

209 is light, Collins played at 207. Barron is 213. And Burnett is somewhat skinny. Plus, overall I didn't see him slower than pre-draft. I saw him miss badly due to poor angles or bad gambles, but not because he was too slow.

40 times are almost meaningless. The agility, acceleration and explosion drills matter much more in terms of coverage.

Barron didn't do the shuttle and cone drills, maybe fearing those times would be too slow. I worry because of what I've seen on TV and on the internet. He didn't appear like a guy agile enough to cover one on one.

Another thing is that Capers doesn't attribute the FS and SS labels. It's more of a right and left safety.

But I'm in your category. I prefer the term couch GM, though.

Mojo's picture

pkrNboro says:

"While I liked the XLV pick-six, the “celebration” cost us 15 yards — and that was one of your “all-time favorite Packer moments” ?"

Answer: Yup. The group I was watching with exploded with joy after that play.
It played a significant part in the final outcome. I'm surprised you diminish the play so much because of the penalty. Really? I could give a crap about the 15 yard celebration penalty.

Anywho, the stretch from when the Dongslinger threw his pick as a Queen against the Saints to the next year when the 4th Q ended in the Packs SB victory, represents my favorite period of time as a Packer fan. And I've seen a lot of Packer football. Nick Collins had a large role in making the latter event happen (And I was happy when he went to his knees and threw his arms-up. Sometimes in life you got to say "WTF").

pkrNboro's picture

I didn't diminish the play -- Collins did.

I don't think you'll find much company among NFL coaches or fans if you think it's OK to cede 15 yards unnecessarily.

More power to you if you want to say: "WTF" -- just so long as "you" take responsibility for the consequences...

Mojo's picture

Yeah, I'll accept the consequences and the pick-six also. I'm guessing not as many fans were as upset about it as you are. If you can't display passion for the most important play of your career, you might as well lay down and apply the embalming fluid. I'm not going to apologize for placing the play among my all-time Packer favorites.

Rocky70's picture

Collin's pick & this pick by Tramon made 2010 very special.

CSS's picture

You've got to believe this didn't catch the Packers off-guard. They've been anticipating the possibility since well before the combine, probably in the early stages of the scouting process back in the winter of 11'. The positional value will have some emphasis on their draft board, but I doubt they reshuffle their board based on the final announcement and subsequent release of Collins.

Jeff's picture

I almost cried. You will be missed Nick. I hope he will return to the Packers in some non-playing capacity.

Derek's picture

Gonna really miss you Nick. great guy and great playmaker. I'll never forget the INT return for TD in SBXLV. I hope you retire as a Packer and don't risk paralysis.

CalPackfan's picture

Nick you'll be missed, one of my favorite Packers ever. Saw you make a shoestring tackle your first game in Lambeau and just knew you were going to become a great defender. We in Pack Land will always remember you. Best wishes in your post-NFL life.

PackersRS's picture

Balls. Collins + Burnett never materialized. Speaking of which, Burnett better play to his potential this year.

As for Collins, I've defended him when people called him a mercenary, when he missed time because his father had died. He was one of my favorites. Top 3 safety, made everyone proud of him wearing 36, including Butler. And he never played with a quality counterpart.

I'll always remember him being one of the best safeties I've seen, and will always be sad, because he could've been even better.

And I'm still holding hope that this is not true.

dat der Packer-backer's picture

Really well put, RS.

markinmontana's picture

I'm thinking/hoping that Burnett reaches his potential in the next year or two. It took Collins (and going back a little further, Sharper, Butler, etc.)a few years to really become proficient at the safety position. In addition to this being sad for Collins, it's a bad deal because I could easily see his replacement (whoever that will be) struggling for a couple of years.

PackersRS's picture

Collins' problem, coincidentally, was the same as Burnett's. Poor angles and bad timed gambles. I see the potential in him, to be an elite safety. It's just that we could've had 2.

lars's picture

You're in denial as was everyone else who refused to believe McCarthy several months ago, when he made the now-famous statement about not letting his son play if he had the same injury.

Cole's picture


Brooklyn81's picture

This will go down as one of the top 10 worst days of my life

Evan's picture

ha. You've had a blessed life.

IowaPackFan's picture

Either that or he is 17 years old.

RickH's picture

With the 28th pick in the first round, the Green Bay Packers select Harrison Smith, Notre Dame.

Cole's picture

He would've had ten picks a year if he could catch better. Taking durability into consideration, was the best safety in the league IMO.

D B H's picture

His range was fantastic. There is not another player in the league that could make plays in as large of a zone as Nick.

pkrNboro's picture

I remember comments from just a few days ago, about how the Packers wouldn't "tip their hand" and give any Collins info before the draft -- let alone out-right releasing him!

May I please ask that you step forward, and take a bow now ???

gbslapshot's picture

I was writing that exact apology as you wrote

PackersRS's picture

I would if I didn't have a back problem...

packsmack25's picture

If they were smart, they would have. Nothing is gained by the timing here. Trades now become more difficult.

pkrNboro's picture

they ain't tradin' jack. if anything, they trade down.

packsmack25's picture

Tougher to trade down and still get the guy you want when teams know you might want a safety. That's my point. Other teams will swoop in and nab the guy we have our eyes on in that scenario.

PackersRS's picture

Guaranteed money. In the end it's about money. I don't know the exact dates, though, but I'd bet they had to release him yesterday in order not to pay him +$3MI.

gbslapshot's picture

I was wrong.....I thought there was no way the Packers would tip their hand as far as if they were interested in a safety. I still do not understand why the Packers made this move today instead of a week from now....None the less Nick will be sorely of luck to you Nick Collins.

pkrNboro's picture

After "Ari Fleischer" and the FedEx-ing of a dismantled locker to a former player, I realized that this organization doesn't do "spin-doctor."

In recognition of that, I thought "no way" the Packers try to play some kind of game that they've lost so spectacularly in the past.

Additionally, the excuse of "the doctor was on vacation" that was presented in the last couple of weeks had the look and smell of the-dog-ate-my-homework. There's no way, after six months, that meetings/decisions are train-wrecked by a (single) doctor's vacation! Instead, it had the feel of a player getting unwanted news, and desperately seeking a plan B.

I read in the Journal-Sentinel that he's been to 5 doctors. I hope he heeds their warning.

Even trading a boatload of picks (that they very much need), the Packers may not be able to get Barron. I don't think they'd even want him in the first round, as he's not going to be a special player, IMO. So there's really no reason not to make the announcement.

IowaPackFan's picture

Who's to say the Packers will pick a safety in an early round? Every GM knows TT's MO is Best Player Available. Wouldn't a bigger tip-off be the players the Packers have brought in for workouts (which is public, by the way)? One being a Safety from Maine.

Most teams have their own houses to take care of, let alone try and guess what the eternal enigma of TT is going to do.

Evan's picture

Haven't we debunked this BPA thing yet?

pkrNboro's picture

I'm still thinking how BPA applies to Pat Lee, in the 2nd round of 2008.

lebowski's picture

thanks for the laugh

bomdad's picture

He dropped alot of INTs but he caught alot of them too. And many of them were due to his incredible range and speed. He could get to places not many safeties could. I'm happy he will be a Packer great that I can meet and shake hands with someday.

ClayMaker's picture

While this news saddens me to no end, I also feel extremely proud of the Packer organization. Not every team in this league would truly place a player's well-being ahead of every other one of its goals.

bigfog's picture

I had a gut feeling this might happen, but I was really hoping it would not.

Heart-broken. One of my fave Packers of all time. Whoever they get to replace him has got big shoes to fill.

Sad day.

dat der Packer-backer's picture

Man, I remember sitting in our local brewery watching the Packer/Panther game in a room full of Packer fans. After seeing Collins on the ground there was a murmur. Then the replay. I knew it then. I think everybody did, but we hoped it wasn't as bad as we thought. I've heard silence after dumb plays, crushing defeats and plays (hail mary?), but that was the quietest I've ever heard a room.

There was a game, what, the year before last? Collins was down for a little bit after flying in and colliding with Tramon, I believe. He played balls-to-the-wall. This sucks. INFINITELY more for Nick, but a sad day for us.

dat der Packer-backer's picture

Question: Is there ANY chance we bring in Jim Leonhard?

pkrNboro's picture

Answer: No.

He's too old (29)
He's too small (5-8)
He's coming off injury, perhaps barely able to avoid PUP.

He's high enough profile to think he needs to be paid big money.

However, there will be some UDFA from absolute nowhere that will be signed in a few days...

pkrNboro's picture

Might as well release Donald Driver, I'm ready for it after Clifton and Collins.

Nerd's Laptop's picture

Makes me literally sick.

Collins was a HoF calibur player. He was forced to have an imho unnecessary surgery. He then was cleared by the surgeon who performed that surgery. And now they still won't let him play.

Just unreal.

Next time, get two weeks' worth of acupuncture. No more bulging disc.

pkrNboro's picture

are you one of those "Holiday Inn" doctors ??

Nerd's Laptop's picture

Traditional Chinese Medicine. I have what I call the "12 semester masters degree." So no, I can't call myself a "doctor."

What sickens me is how unnecessary this whole thing is. Combined with how great Collins was.

I bet he plays for Minnesota.

pkrNboro's picture

you've said "unnecessary" twice!

he's got a bulging disc... that probably looks like a goiter.

And you want to stick needles in him?

You're killing me...
...and him!!

Nerd's Laptop's picture

IMHO, wouldn't have even needed surgery.

Evan's picture

How could you possibly pretend to have an informed opinion on this??

Nerd's Laptop's picture

Me? We treat this sort of thing all the time. Successfully.

Maybe there's more to it that hasn't been released publicly.

Doc J's picture

As a real doctor, I think you should probably avoid giving professional recommendations for treatment without even examining a patient.

You concern me more than a little.

Nerdmann's picture

Like I said, maybe there's more than is being reported.

Another thing that is odd. Now they are saying he was never cleared by any doctor.

Previously it had been reported that he had been cleared by the doctor who performed the surgery.

Don Hutson's picture

I can't believe this thread. Without seeing the actual injury scans and the patient how can any legit practitioner make such statements?

Nerdmann's picture

These are on lumbar herniations, but I've had success with all different levels of the spine. Keep in mind, this "herniation" was elective surgery.

It just seems to be all the facts are not being reported.

CONCLUSION:The lumbar intervertebral disc herniation treated with puncture by opening meridian and consolidating origin is rapidly effected with low recurrence rate.

CONCLUSION: Acupotomology is definitely effective in the treatment of lumbar disc herniation and its efficacy is similar to that of operation.

Kelly's picture

You're kidding right?

He had a high cervical disc problem. If that disk bulged further he had two options even with a repair:

Join Sterling Sharpe and have a successful broadcasting career or risk having a short, horrible life like Christopher Reeve.

Just a primer on neuroanatomy: you permanently injure your spinal cord as high up as Nick Collins, you are a quadriplegic but more importantly, you take out the nerves that control the diaphragm. Not only can't you move your arms or legs, you can't breathe.

Yeah go call it an unnecessary surgery. Keep flapping those gums.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Gotsta throw this out there.

Four years ago I blew out my L4 and L5. I tried everything from PT to Chiropractic and everything in between... Didn't work. Literally the last thing I tried before I was about to schedule surgery was accupuncture. I went twice a week for about two months, and now it's 2+ years later and I still feel like I never jacked my back up. I'm not saying anything about Nicks' situation, just that I was literally weeks away from surgery (that I didn't want to have but was out of options), and accupuncture turned my condition 180 degrees. If I talk to anyone that's hurting, I always tell them to give it a try before getting cut open... It's worth a shot. Dr. Stephen Plaza, Olympia Wa = miracle worker.

Nerd's Laptop's picture

Thanks Fitz. What you say is true.

And remember, the "real" doctors said he didn't NEED the surgery. They only wanted to correct the bulge IF he wanted to continue playing.

There might have been another way to correct it, which would not have ended his career.

Again, this is my opinion. And again, I'm only going by what was reported in the press. Which included one report that the guy who performed the surgery cleared him to play.

Maybe there's more to the story.

Sootofan97's picture

I want jimmy leonhard now... Who cares if he is small? Dude is a playmaker.. My heart sank when I seen we release Collins. Gonna miss ya 36!!!

pkrNboro's picture

I said "no."

...and I'm the GM here.

Don't make me release you...

packsmack25's picture

Phil Emery has to be pissing himself laughing at all the lucky breaks he is getting as the new Bears GM. First, he's given Marshall. Now he's been handed Collins on a platter.

AJKUHN's picture

I would like to believe that if the Packers felt it necessary to release him, that he has the sense to hang it up while he can walk away from the game. TT has stuck with a number of other players through a lot of injury (more than Harrell) and the team usually takes the cautious, player friendly approach. If they don't think he can play anymore, he probably shouldn't. I am certain he could go out and still play, and at a high level, and as long as no hits to the head/neck occur he will be fine. But, he could end up with very severe injury. I am certain Nick is thinking about this as well. I loved having him out there, but I would rather he has a good life with his family than a few more years playing.

pgf's picture

An early ending to his career was inevitable. Watch the film of how he tackles. He led with his head way too often....

Rocky70's picture

Ladies & Gentlemen
I think we have a winner or two.

Hey, seriously, maybe some of those who have been preaching 'the deeeeeepest team in the NFL' are now realizing how quickly that becomes a moot point. Draft 2012 is huge for the Pack.

packsmack25's picture

Congrats I guess? I don't think there's cause for alarm like you do, but I do think it's an important draft. But with the philosophy of our GM/Coach, every draft is an important one.

PackersRS's picture

Did you just link to a post of your own and congratulated yourself?

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