The Green Bay Packers have released S Nick Collins. The transaction was announced Wednesday by Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson.
Collins, who was selected by the Packers with the first of two second-round selections (No. 51 overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft, went on to appear in 95 games (all starts) at free safety during his seven-year career in Green Bay. During that time, he amassed 498 tackles (388 solo), 21 interceptions, including four returned for touchdowns, 83 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
From 2008-10, Collins ranked second among all NFL players with 439 interception return yards and was tied for second among safeties with 17 INTs over that span. In 2008, he set a franchise record with 295 INT return yards and became the first NFL safety since 1986 to return three INTs for TDs in a season. In 2010, Collins became the first Packers safety since LeRoy Butler to earn a bid to three consecutive Pro Bowls, and capped his season with a 37-yard INT return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLV. He missed just three games in his first six seasons in the league, but was sidelined for the final 14 contests of 2011 after suffering a season-ending neck injury at Carolina in Week 2.
"From the beginning of this process, we have taken our time and sought numerous medical opinions while maintaining consistent dialogue with Nick," Thompson said. "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."