At one point of his career Austin Collie looked like he would be among the top receivers in the game. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2009 and early in the season no one knew who he was. By time end of the year, he was a household name in Indianapolis and quickly a fan favorite.
In his rookie season, Collie caught 60 passes and scored seven touchdowns. He was among the lead high for rookies with 676 receiving yards and played all 16 regular season games. He was a vital part of the Colts’ Super Bowl run and became one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets.
In his second season he picked up where he left off in his first season and came out to a fast start. Collie, was in the top five in the league in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns entering their Nov. 7 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately, Collie suffered a severe concussion that game and was forced to miss a month of action.
He returned for the late season home game with the Jacksonville Jaguars and looked great. He was on the receiving end of two touchdowns from Manning and looked prime to become one of his favorite targets again.
Unfortunately, Collie suffered another severe concussion when he was nailed in his helmet while making a catch off of a post route. Little did we know then, but that halted any dream from Collie of being one of the top receivers in the NFL.
Collie, would return for a third season in 2011 but it never was the same. He dropped several passes and looked almost two steps off all season. He did play all 16 games but only had 54 receptions with 514 yards and one touchdown.
Everyone had high hopes for Collie this season as some blamed his misfortunes of ’11 on the lack of talent throwing him the ball. The Colts now had Andrew Luck who was compared to Manning and thought Luck could help Collie’s numbers rise.
For the third time in just 21 months, Collie suffered another concussion as he suffered his head injury in the second quarter of the second preseason game at the Pittsburgh Steelers. This time thought it wouldn’t sideline Collie long as he would return for the Week 3 matchup at home with the Jaguars.
Again, Collie suffered a season ending injury in that game in September as he went down with a bad knee injury. We knew then that this was probably it for Collie. He was criticized in the local markets for coming back in the first place then he got the sign that he needed to not come back.
The Colts cut ties with Collie today in what will end a tenure that could have landed him in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio one day. He had 118 receptions with 1,325 yards and 15 touchdowns in his first 25 games.
Now, we are left wondering what might have been without the concussions and knee injury. It’s a tough sport and sometimes the chips don’t fall your way.