Collins’ career in Green Bay is officially done and it is still up in the air whether or not he will play for another team in 2012. Collins underwent spinal fusion surgery and met with at least five different neurosurgeons to get their opinion if he would be healthy enough to return to football. He clearly wants to play but has still not confirmed if he is going to.
One thing is for certain, Collins was a phenomenal Packer and one of the greatest players to ever play the safety position in franchise history. His Twitter account is overflowing with praise from fans all around the world. No one wanted to see him go; however, it is just one of those things where general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy were not going to watch one of their favorite players get injured to the point where he would not be able to function normally.
Now, the question must be asked: Where does Collins rank all-time among Green Bay Packer safeties? There is no doubt he ranks towards the top but there have been several great safeties over the years.
Here is a statistical comparison of the top five safeties in Packers history:
* Tackles and sacks were not yet recorded as an official statistic.
As you can see, Collins numbers rank up there with the best of them despite only playing for six full seasons. These are some of the greatest players to grace the Green Bay secondary over a period of four decades.
The only shame I see is what Collins’ injury could ultimately cost him. I recently wrote an article about potential Hall of Famers that currently play for the Packers and Collins was on that list. Technically, if he continues to play elsewhere he still could put up the numbers to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At this point, fans just have to remember the good times they had watching him play and thank him for all the great memories.
Here is a list of the top five safeties in Green Bay history:
1. Willie Wood
Willie Wood played his entire career with the Packers. He was elected to eight Pro Bowls, a five-time All-Pro, two-time second-team All-Pro, a member of the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team, a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and a five-time NFL Champion including Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II. Wood was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
2. LeRoy Butler
LeRoy Butler spent his entire NFL career with the Packers and was forced to retire before the 2002 season when his broken shoulder blade did not heal properly. He was elected to four Pro Bowls, a four-time All-Pro, a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and a Super Bowl champion (XXXI).
3. Bobby Dillon
Bobby Dillon played his entire career with the Packers with only one working eye. Despite that, he is the all-time Packers career interceptions leader with 52 and led Green Bay in interceptions in all seven seasons he played. He was also the second player in NFL history to record at least 50 picks. He was elected to four Pro Bowls and is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
4. Darren Sharper
Darren Sharper played eight seasons with the Packers and missed Green Bay’s Super Bowl XXXI victory by one year. He was elected to two Pro Bowls and two All-Pros as a Packer and is a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. He did go on to win a Super Bowl (XLIV) with the New Orleans Saints.
5. Nick Collins
Nick Collins played his entire career up to this point in Green Bay. He was elected to three Pro Bowls, a three-time All-Pro and he was the NFC interceptions leader in 2008. His finest moment as a Packer was when he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown in Green Bay’s victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Collins, just like the other men on this list, was the soul of Green Bay’s secondary during his tenure with the team.
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