Entering his 16th NFL season, Kerry Collins is experiencing nothing short of what can be described as an amazing revival in the Music City for the Tennessee Titans. Brought in in 2006 as the expected tutor for the dynamic rookie Vince Young, Collins was benched after only four games due to his inability to lead the team to victory. However, at the beginning of the 2008 season, when Vince left the Jacksonville game, Collins grabbed the reigns of the team and would not let go.
Collins has had nothing short of what can be described as a rocky NFL career. Drafted out of Penn State fifth overall to the Carolina Panthers in 1995, he would lead the expansion team to the NFC Championship game in its second year of existence in 1996, losing to the Green Bay Packers. However, in 1998, problems with accused racism and alcoholism would lead Collins to be placed on waivers by the Panthers.
The New Orleans Saints were the next team to claim Collins. However, a sub-par finish to the 1998 season led to the Saints not renewing his contract in the off season.
Collins was in a bad place, a free agent with a stingy past. He would get yet another shot, with the New York Giants recognizing his talent, and giving him a contract.
Continuing his struggle with alcoholism and accused racism, Collins still put together decent seasons in New York. After being signed as a backup, Collins would claim the starting job to close out the 1999 season, and would start the 2000 season, leading the Giants to the Superbowl, subsequently losing to the Baltimore Ravens.
The 2000 season seemed to be Collins peak, as every subsequent season in New York his stats dwindled, fumbles increased along with interceptions. He would eventually be released in 2004 after the Giants drafted Eli Manning.
The next stop on the Kerry Collins NFL Tour would be Oakland: where old players go to retire. He was Rich Gannon's backup to begin the 2004 season, however injuries thrust him into the starting role. Struggles throughout the 2004 and 2005 season led him to be cut once again.
Many thought Collins was done at this point, however one coach still thought he had at least enough left to tutor a young quarterback. The same franchise that drafted Steve McNair two selections before Collins in the 1995 would give Collins his final landing place.
His embattled career, and seemingly his never-say-die attitude would lead me to ask him many questions. There is a lot to learn from someone so traveled, and who had to deal with what he had to deal with in some of the largest, and smallest markets in the NFL. Here is a list of questions I would want to ask Kerry Collins.
- What was the turning point in your career? When did you realize that the alcoholism and alleged racism could be a career killer, and how did you change your life?
- What franchise was the best run that you were a part of? Which treated the players the best, and how does that impact the winning attitude within the locker room?
- How does ownership, and the player's attitude towards ownership affect the moral within the locker room?
- How can you explain your renaissance in Tennessee? Sub par seasons have led to your benching on multiple teams, what turned around for you?
- What is the most memorable moment in your career? How did it affect you, and what did you learn from it?
- What are your thoughts on Vince Young? Do you believe that he has what it takes to be a starting quarterback in the NFL? Given your struggles throughout your career, what advice and mentor ship could you give to Vince to help him become your successor for the Titans?
- You and Kurt Warner both have reemerged on new teams and seem to be playing like you were in your prime. What is the key component for a quarterback to succeed? Is it the supporting cast, or is it more mental?
- You have played for a variety of coaches. Has one particular coaching style been more or less effective within the locker room? Who has been the most effective coach for you? What made him more effective than others?
- You were cut by the Panthers, Giants and Raiders. What was the toughest to take? Was there a moment when you wanted to hang it up? What made you come back and keep fighting?
- What was it like to be named to the Pro Bowl last season? Did you think that you would get another chance to start for the Titans, and furthermore what do you expect from this team this season with the loss of Albert Haynesworth?
- Do you envision yourself as a leader within the locker room? You seem like a quiet guy off the playing field, who is the leader of this Titans team?
Surely I would be pleased to see Kerry's reaction to some of these questions. Surely there would be more given his responses. However, I don't think that there is a starting quarterback in the league who has put up with more off the field issues, and bounced back to a pro bowl season after numerous struggles, other than Mr. Collins.
I look forward to seeing what he has in store for us this season, the resilient Kerry Collins, searching for a ring.