Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kerry Collins Hangs up Cleats after 16 Seasons

Throughout his NFL career, Collins, 38, the long-time journeyman quarterback, battled both injury and controversy.

His career isn't what one would call consistent, either. One season he may post an 83.1 QB rating and lead his team to the Super Bowl (in 2000 while quarterbacking the New York Giants), and the next he could lead the league in interceptions (21) and put up a 3-10 record as the team's starter (2004 while in Oakland).

The fifth overall selection of the Carolina Panthers in the 1995 draft, Collins so-called "quit" the team as then-head coach Dom Capers put it. After starting 0-4 as Carolina's starter in 1998, Collins asked the team to be traded, but was instead placed on waivers. New Orleans picked him up during the season, but was gone by the end after going 2-5 as the starter.
His most impressive tenure, perhaps, was with the Giants. In five seasons, Collins put up a 35-33 record and led the G-Men to two playoff appearances, included a remarkable Super Bowl run that ended in an embarrassing 34-7 defeat to perhaps the stingiest defense in league history.

Two unsuccessful seasons with the Oakland Raiders in 2004 and 2005 led to Collins being cut for the second time in his career. He managed to revive his rocky career in Tennessee, however, signing a one-year contract in August of 2006.

Collins was brought in primarily as a mentor for the rookie Vince Young as the Titans went 1-3 in Collins' four starts in '06 and '07.

A Young injury early in the 2008 campaign led to Collins' rebirth as a starting quarterback, leading Tennessee to a 13-3 record and a playoff berth. Thanks to a strong ground attack and stingy No. 2 overall defense, Tennessee captured a first-round bye, but faltered in a round two matchup with Baltimore.

That season Collins, in what was his fourth-most productive season in terms of QB Rating (80.2), made his second and final trip to Honolulu, Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

In regards to the 2011 season, what sort of impact does Collins retirement have on the Tennessee Titans organization? Well, that one's easy. It opens up an opportunity for rookie Jake Locker to take over the reins.
The idea of Locker starting for Tennessee come week one is a pretty scary thought, especially considering he wasn't the most accurate quarterback in his glory college days at Washington. Personally, I don't agree with the Titans selecting Locker with the No. 8 overall pick, especially when Blaine Gabbert was still on the board.

It's risky enough as it is starting a rookie quarterback right off the bat, let alone a questionable talent such as Locker (at best).

But, with a Vince Young release highly likely once the lockout is lifted, it's appearing more and more as though Locker will be Tennessee's guy in 2011. Nevertheless, this is a good time to pay tribute to Collins' career.

His 40,000 career passing yards (11th-most in league history) unfortunately will not be enough for him to get a call from Canton, but he will surely be remembered by New York fans as the guy who almost got them a Championship.

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