Collins Feels Good And Feels BlessedApril 25, 2012
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Chances are some bloggers will somehow try to evaluate Nick Collins' NFL playing future by his play in a charity basketball game Friday in historic Moore Gymnasium. We'll happily provide the details, and as much as we love Nick, we don't foresee a switch to the Milwaukee Bucks any time soon.
The former Bethune-Cookman standout and Green Bay Packer All-Pro hit his first jump shot. He played solid defense, except for the time he got juked by B-CU women's coach Vanessa Blair. He ran the fast break and finished strong. That dunk would have been nasty if the rim hadn't blocked it. Final stat line: 11 points in his team's 83-81 victory in the 2nd Annual Pros vs. Joes spectacular.
It was good to see Collins and all the other alum who made the trek back to Daytona Beach for the weekend activities surrounding the Spring Football game. Especially since the last time we saw Collins, he was being carried off the field on a stretcher after suffering a neck injury against Carolina in the second week of the 2011 season.
"It didn't hurt, but I knew something was wrong -- 'This ain't right' ," Collins said, recalling the incident. "I could move, but my body was completely numb. It was the whole body. I thought it was just a full-body stinger, but once we got the X-rays, it was a little different."
"I feel real good," Collins said of his current status. "I have no pain, but it's not an easy process."
Neither is the decision whether or not Collins returns to the field. He has been participating in off-season workouts in Green Bay.
"It's not up to me," Collins said. "It's up to a lot of people -- it's up to the (Packers) organization. When we make that decision, we'll live with it and move on. Everybody knows this game is not for long. Being in the game for seven years is a blessing in itself. But I would like more. We'll see. We're taking it one step at a time."
There is the opportunity to face former B-CU teammate Eric Weems, who signed with the arch-rival Chicago Bears to look forward to and Collins chuckled about that.
"Two Wildcats in the NFC North," Collins said. "That's twice a year we'd get to see each other. Hopefully, I'll be out there to do it."
If not, Collins can accept his fate.
"I'm blessed," Collins said. "I had an opportunity to fulfill my dream, to play professional football. Been in the Pro Bowl three times. Been in the Super Bowl, returned an interception for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. I've accomplished so much in a short period of time, I'm not going to feel cheated."
"I don't want anyone to feel sorry for Nick Collins. They know one thing about Nick Collins: When he approached the game, he played it to the best of his ability and laid it on the line -- for everybody."
And for someone's who only 28, Collins can also pinpoint his legacy.
"I came from a small town and a small school and look what I accomplished," Collins sad. "It doesn't matter where you come from, as long as you're doing the job the right way, you have a chance."
As far as the basketball went Friday night, Collins had a lot of help from the Canadian Football League on the Pros Team.
Joe Giddens, a former Toronto Argonaut who also played arena ball and for every incarnation of indoor football in Daytona Beach, scored 15 of his 20 in the second half to lead the Pros. Pat Brown of the Saskatchewan Roughriders added 14. NBA official Eric Lewis spent the entire game trying to get a foul call and didn't get not aone.
Mike Polite, son of the NBA star, led the Joes with a game-high 33 while intramural legend Alvin Wyatt Jr. added 17. Men's basketball assistant coach Montez Robinson thrived in the Joes' 6-on-5 break (Give it a second. It'll come to you.) and scored six along with Blair and Bowling coach Tony O'Neal.
Earlier, football and band alumni were tied 68-68 after the first overtime and mercifully decided not to play another five minutes.