Austin Collie inspired by Chuck Pagano to continue playing in NFL
Austin Collie said that Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay “showed a lot of class” when he, general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano came in person to inform Collie of his release. Selected in the fourth round of the 2009 drafts by the Indianapolis Colts, Austin Collie was at the end of the final year of his rookie contract.
The 27-year-old Austin Collie’s history of injuries raise makes him a risky signing for teams. Austin Collie has last September’s torn patellar tendon and a couple of concussions on his plate, but without any clear medical restrictions he is looking forward to shot at playing next season with another team.
“I’m playing…Right now, it would take a doctor to tell me, ‘You can’t play anymore’,” said Austin Collie. “I feel like this is a gift that I’ve been given, and personally I feel I should still be doing it. That’s just me.”
After ending the season on the injured reserve, Austin Collie is determined to return in peak form – much like the first six games of the 2010 season, when he registered 44 catches for 503 yards and six touchdowns, ranking amongst the top performers in the NFL.
And then back-to-back injuries struck as Austin Collie underwent thumb surgery after an injury in the sixth game of the 2010 season followed by three concussions, two of which (against the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars) looked especially rattling.
Austin Collie almost made 2011 injury free, but he sustained another concussion in the2012 preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Austin Collie’s trip to the injured reserve happened on a surgery to repair a ruptured right patellar tendon following the Week 3 loss Jacksonville Jaguars.
Austin Collie acknowledged he was “down in the dumps, throwing a pity party” following the knee surgery that put him out for the season, when the players first heard news of Chuck Pagano’s battle with leukemia.
“I learned a lot from Chuck. One of the biggest things is just when you think things can’t get any worse, you know, they get worse,” said Austin Collie. “After hearing about Chuck’s (diagnosis), I decided my situation was pretty minute compared to that. Just to see him come back and overcome that gave me hope. He was an inspiration to me.”
Chuck Pagano is now in remission and Austin Collie is working off that inspiration towards his comeback.
Austin Collie added that his knee feels far better than it has done in the last four to five years and he will be looking forward to a “new beginning” in his NFL career.