By Melissa Rohlin
8:51 AM PDT, April 26, 2012
The Green Bay Packers have released veteran safety Nick Collins because of lingering concerns over a neck injury he suffered seven months ago.
Collins suffered a season-ending neck injury Sept. 18 while trying to make a tackle against Carolina. The injury required cervical fusion surgery.
"From the beginning of this process, we have taken our time and sought numerous medical opinions while maintaining consistent dialogue with Nick," Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said in a statement released by the team Wednesday.
"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."
Collins, who played all seven years of his pro career with the Packers, has not decided whether he will attempt to play for another team.
He started 95 regular-season games and had 21 career interceptions with the Packers, returning four for touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl three straight seasons and was named a second-team All-Pro after the 2010 season.
At NFL meetings in March, Packers Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters his primary concern was Collins' health.
"To have Nick Collins back on the practice field and playing games would be huge, but this is more than football," McCarthy said. "Nick's a family man, he's a father, that's no fun standing over someone like that. I don't think any coach wants to see one of their players go through that."
Collins took to Twitter on Wednesday to thank the organization.
"To my teammates and coaches I'm going to miss going to war with y'all on Sunday!! Green Bay Packer 4life... Stay up."
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