FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Given wide receiver Austin Collie’s history with concussions, the question is a simple one: Why?
Why keep playing and sign a one-year contract with the New England Patriots?
Why put himself at risk for another potential concussion?
“I’d rather not talk about that. I’d rather not talk about the concussions or the past injuries,” Collie said in his first public remarks since joining the Patriots on Thursday. “I think I’ve been asked those questions a lot the past couple years. I’m ready to put all that stuff behind me and move on. I’m just worried about being here, being a part of this team, and helping any way I can.”
Collie provides the Patriots an added layer of depth as four of the team’s six receivers -- Danny Amendola (groin), Kenbrell Thompkins (shoulder), Aaron Dobson (neck) and Matthew Slater (wrist) -- are currently on the injury report.
Collie had spent training camp and the preseason with the San Francisco 49ers, who released him at the final roster cutdown, and had worked out for the Patriots in June. Collie also said he had workouts with the Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins, but it wasn’t until he got the call this week from the Patriots that there was a breakthrough.
His contract is a one-year, $715,000 pact that doesn’t include a signing bonus or incentives, and has a split that reduces his salary should he land on a reserve list. Collie also signed an injury waiver as part of the deal.
As for why he wants to play, he said, “It is something I feel like I’m good at. It’s a gift I’ve been given, and I want to maximize that gift. I feel like I have a lot more left to give. If I didn’t feel that way, if I didn’t feel like I have more to give, if I felt like I kind of topped or maximized my potential already, then I’d walk away. ... All I want to do is play football and that’s what I’m doing. So I’m a happy man.”
“This is a great system, obviously a system that has proven itself year in and year out. I love being in it,” he said. “There are a lot of balls to be caught. I can’t wait to learn more about it. I can’t wait to get that chemistry down with No. 12 and jell with this offense and become part of this offense. ...
“There is definitely a unique feel here, definitely great guys in the locker room, great team camaraderie. So it’s fun. It’s a great place to be.”
Collie acknowledged that any player would be behind the “8-ball” after signing a contract on Thursday, but he is still preparing to play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“That’s not up to me. That’s a coach's call. My mindset is that there could be an opportunity, you never know, and always prepare like you are going to play,” he said.