Nick Collins awaiting word on his future

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Many of you watched the implosion of the Green Bay Packers' pass defense and wondered what would have happened if Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins had played the entire season. I know that I, for one, would have felt much better with Collins joining cornerback Charles Woodson in defending the Hail Mary pass that ended in the New York Giants' second touchdown in Sunday's 37-20 defeat.

Collins, of course, was watching from the sideline as he continues to recover from a neck injury that ended his season in September. He has expressed confidence that he will return to play in 2012, but on Sunday acknowledged that it will be at least two more months before he knows for sure.

Collins is scheduled for what he termed a "final evaluation" from his doctors and the Packers' doctors. "Hopefully," he said, "they'll give me some good news."

He added: "This is tough for me. because I never pictured myself being in this position -- having to plan for either I'm coming back or I've got to retire. This is tough. And hopefully I don't have to end it this way. But at the end of the day, I want to be able to walk away from this game on my own."

Man. Collins has had plenty of time to consider his football future, and I can only imagine the conflicting thoughts he must have.

He is 28 years old and was in the midst of a career arc that placed him among the top players at his position in the league over the past five seasons. On the other hand, he has a young family and a long life ahead of him.

"When your kids grow up and they get into sports," Collins said, "you want to be there for them, cheering them on. And I'd rather do that rather than being in a wheelchair. I don't want to be like that. I want to be there for my kids, my family."

To be continued. ...