Most of the time it is not right to give up on a player because he’s injured. But it’s more than just that in the case of New England Patriots wide receiver Austin Collie, who was released today. There are a couple of reasons as to why that was the right move.
First, and most obviously, Collie is hurt. He tweaked his knee in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nobody knows how long that injury was going to sideline him or if that was the reason he was cut, but the injury was enough to take him out of the game. Plus knee injuries are growing common and concerning in today’s NFL. It probably would have taken Collie some time to recover.
Then we have the justified concern that Collie is injury-prone. He has suffered multiple concussions in his career, which makes one wonder how much longer he can play anyway. The good news is that he was at least healthy enough to sign with and play for the Patriots. But one more tough shot could do some serious damage to Collie, and nobody wants to see that.
Collie’s presence was also stunting the growth of the younger wide receivers. Last Sunday, Kenbrell Thompkins was a healthy scratch because Collie had jumped him on the depth chart. Josh Boyce has also been a healthy scratch for multiple weeks now. These young wide receivers need to play, and that was not going to happen as long as Collie was with the team.
Bill Belichick made a tough move in releasing Collie, but it was the only way to get younger and healthier wide receivers to play.