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Nick Collins' neck injury was one of the more emotional moments of the Green Bay Packers' 2011 season, and the incident may prematurely end the All-Pro safety's career.
Little is known about when Collins will make his decision on his return, but several people close to the situation, including Collins himself, have publicly commented.
Head coach Mike McCarthy expressed concern for his player and said:
"That's probably one of the worst parts of your job [as a coach], walking out on the field, looking over a player — especially when it didn't look very serious, and then you get out there … I don't want to be put in that position again. And this is not about me. I'm just talking about, if that was my son, if Nick was my son, I would not let him play."
Collins' agent Alan Herman agreed with McCarthy's cautionary mindset but knew his client might not. He said:
"I've told him, why come back? You've got more money than you can spend. But I don't think it's any different with Nick Collins than it is with Peyton Manning. That's why Peyton Manning has come back from a neck injury. They like to compete. They're willing to accept the risk."
Collins briefly and clearly expressed his views on the situation (in the same article in which Herman was quoted).
"If everything's good, then we're going. If (doctors) say there's a slight chance of something, then that's it."
As Tom Silverstein from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out, there is precedent for defensive backs returning from similar injuries, so medical clearance is not out of the question.
However, there are many different extenuating circumstances that could lead doctors to force Collins' retirement.
While little is known about the discussions between Collins, his doctors and the Packers, the safety's desire to return to football is well established.
If Collins' injury ends his career, safety will become a much bigger need in the draft for Green Bay. The Packers may even spring for Notre Dame's Harrison Smith in the first round, or look to move up in order to get him in the second.
Regardless of Collins' return, Green Bay will likely add depth at the position and could go for later-round players with value like Boise State's George Iloka and Syracuse's Phillip Thomas.