Former Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins eyes NFL return

Former Packers safety Nick Collins suffered a neck injury in Week 2 of the 2011 season and was released by Green Bay seven months later.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Nearly two years after a serious neck injury forced him out of football, former Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins has his sights set on a return to the NFL.

"Who’s looking for a top notch free safety," Collins posted on his Twitter account. "This kid is ready to dominate 2014."

Collins also tweeted "Nickdapick36 is ready for action."

Collins was injured in Week 2 of the 2011 season when attempting to tackle Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart. Seven months later, the Packers released Collins after the team’s medical staff determined that they wouldn’t be able to clear him.

"From the beginning of this process, we have taken our time and sought numerous medical opinions while maintaining consistent dialogue with Nick," general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement at the time. "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."

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A call and email placed to Collins’ representatives were not returned.

Collins required fusion neck surgery between the C-3 and C-4 vertebrae. That operation was performed in September 2011.

Collins, now 30 years old, is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and was part of Green Bay’s Super Bowl XLV win. He was a second-round pick in 2005, starting 95 games in seven seasons with the Packers and collecting 498 tackles, 21 interceptions, 83 passes defensed and five forced fumbles.

Green Bay currently has a major hole at safety. This past season, the Packers’ safety group failed to record a single interception. However, it would seem unlikely that Green Bay’s medical staff would suddenly change its approach and give Collins the clearance he would need to reunite with the Packers. That doesn’t mean that Collins couldn’t find a new home in the NFL with a team willing to give him a shot, though.

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