Wide receiver Austin Collie has been given the all-clear to take the field on Sunday, when the Indianapolis Colts open their season at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears. Collie, who has been marred by concussions over the past few seasons, will be second on the wide out depth chart for the Colts, behind Reggie Wayne.
Collie was taken out of the Colts’ second preseason game in Pittsburgh, after suffering another concussion as he came across the middle of the field on a passing attempt. Collie has stressed that he has felt good to go for a while, but was kept on the sidelines for the remainder of the preseason as a precautionary measure. Collie’s health has been a hot topic for the Colts and the entire NFL in general, as the end result of multiple concussions and head trauma has been pushed to the forefront in the media and even in the courts. Former NFL players have taken the league to court over damaging injuries that were not properly handled and compensated for in past seasons.
The issue for Collie and the Colts is much more current, as the fourth-year veteran player could literally be one hit away from ending his career. The Colts receiving core is deep. The acquisition of free agent Donny Avery has looked promising, and good showings from rookie wide outs T.Y. Hilton and Lavon Brazil during the preseason in Collie’s absence also proved to be beneficial.
But the most important thing about this situation is Collie’s long-term health. Yes, a football player is an investment for a franchise, but is the risk worth the possible reward? It is ultimately up to Austin Collie as to how and when he wants to step on the field, or walk away from it. But a warrior mentality resides inside most athletes, and it may be hard for him to step outside himself and to see what is best for himself in the long run. The fact that Collie wants to continue the fight is admirable, but he should be able to throw in the towel himself, rather than to have the towel thrown in for him.