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Should The Steelers Bring Former Packers S Nick Collins In For A Look?


The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t a team that goes after high-priced free agents during the offseason as they choose instead to shop in the bargain bin. With it looking like veteran free safety Ryan Clark might not be back in 2014, the Steelers could use a low-priced veteran with experience to fill his void for one or two season until a younger draft pick is fully groomed for the long-term.

With the above being said, you have to wonder if the Steelers might have interest in kicking the tires of former Green Bay Packers free safety Nick Collins, who suggested Monday on Twitter that he will attempt a comeback in 2014 after sitting out the last two plus seasons because of a serious neck injury.

Collins, now 30, recorded 21 interceptions and 417 total tackles during his first seven years in the league. Since undergoing cervical fusion surgery back in September of 2011, however, the Packers never cleared him to play and as a result released him in April of 2012.

“From the beginning of this process, we have taken our time and sought numerous medical opinions while maintaining consistent dialogue with Nick,” said Packers general manager Ted Thompson upon releasing the former second-round draft pick. “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.”

While Collins might feel like he’s ready to resume he’s playing career, medical staffs around the league might think otherwise. In addition to that, being out of football for nearly three full seasons would be a very tough obstacle to overcome.

At the very least, the Steelers have nothing to lose by bringing in Collins for a workout and a physical. If he’s cleared and hasn’t lost his skills, he can likely be had for a one-year qualifying contract for the minimum. In addition, he should have an understanding of the Steelers defense having played for Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers since 2009.

I’ll admit that this is very unlikely to happen, but it’s worth keeping an eye on nonetheless. More than anything else, it would be nice to see Collins make it all the way back even if it’s not with the Steelers. You hate to see players be forced out of the game while on top of it because of an injury and that’s exactly what happened with Collins, a three-time Pro Bowler.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Kenneth Wilt

    I don’t know about him in particular, but I expect we make a run as a UFA Safety.

  • steeltown

    Really good Football player… not sure coming back is a good idea, especially playing the position he does but hell if he’s cleared to play then bring him in

  • Matt Manzo

    Who are the other FA options at safety this year?

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I think any veteran willing to work for the minimum qualifying offer should be given consideration at all positions.

  • WIINGY

    There is no patching this team with bargain bin free agents.

    I really hope our offseason plan is not to try to get our veterans to take pay cuts and bring in crappy Free Agents.

    If it is, next year will be more of the same.

  • kamil

    Not a good idea, we getn younger not older..this move doesnt even make sense..

  • Melly

    Why not kick the tires? I’d like to see them be a lil’ more aggressive w/ signing players. They signed Plax last yr…why not Collins?! If he is cleared medically, I don’t see the issue.

  • SteelersDepot

    I think you should know that Clark is 34. Replacing him with a 30 year-old would be getting younger.

  • SteelersDepot

    So you are for playing rookie draft picks to prevent an 8-8 season?

  • Jason White

    It is certainly worth looking at. I hope they make a run at an under the radar OLB and/or a CB. One would assume with some holes to fill you certainly can’t count on draft picks being immediate starters or even a first off the bench backup. It would also be worth looking at perhaps an offensive tackle in free agency to back up Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert. Free safety is probably the only position besides punter that they might possibly sign a player to start IMO. Jarius Byrd would be an awesome signing but knowing our Steelers that’s very unlikely as he will probably be out of their price range and we know they don’t operate that way in free agency.

  • MC

    For every steeler db that has had success we’ve had a Ricardo Coclough, Curtis Brown and an Anthony Smith thrown in there. I’d like to see more consistency from them when picking secondary players.

  • Cody Younkin

    Jarius Byrd, T.J. Ward, Donte Whitner, Chris Clemons, Antone Bethea, Stevie Brown, and Bernard Pollard to name a few, theres twentey somthing FA Safties overall.

  • Brian Miller

    It is reasonable for us to assume that the Steelers will be kicking the tires on any FA players that are within the price range, safety included. I like looking at Ward and Collins, since we have no shot at Byrd. Wouldn’t mind Pollard either to be honest with you, but I don’t know if he really fits our scheme, he seems more like a SS to me.

  • gene mann

    I guess if the steelers find a player like Farrior or even Clark when they Brought him here or even Coutch.The steelers need to add some piece in FA especially on Defense.Thomas is a SS .

  • gene mann

    WE have to look @ FS since thomas was Drafted as a SS

  • Steve

    We need to exhaust all avenues and bring Collins in for a tryout. With all the DB’s we had on the field in sub packages, quality veterans could help.

  • WIINGY

    No reason the Steelers can’t bring in a good free agent. A solid player not old Steeler cast offs or guy whimper.

  • JC Chuta

    Would be a high risk to say the least. Tempting, but just cannot afford to take a risk on someone who most likely would wind-up on Injured Reserve status.

  • Jazz

    I agree, I haven’t heard of this guy, not sure what he could possibly bring to the table. I do expect the Steelers to look at a FA Safety that could come in and help out right away. They could then focus on CB/WR or WR/ILB with the first two picks.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    What a desperate move that would be…bringing in a player who’s potentially one bad hit away from being gurneyed off the field….again. Surely the time and effort spent kicking his tires can be better utilized evaluating someone else. I’d rather they bring back Harrison and kick his tires.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    Protecting Ben and opening holes for Bell has to be the priority. If Steeler Nation thinks bumbs like Gilbert and Beachum will protect Ben and open holes, you got another thing coming. Our franchise rest on Ben…period. Pass protection and the run game has to get better. Neither Beachum, Adams, nor Gilbert are NFL starters. Before his injury, Velasco was the best lineman in the line up. What does that say? The Steelers better wake up and build the trenches or remain out of playoff contention. It’s that simple.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I bet you a beer Munchack turns at least 1 of these guys into aq very good player. I think Beachum will be good, and Adams actually does have potential especially in the run game. And the run game is something Pittsburgh probably wants to focus on.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Back to the point I would personally advise the guy to give up, as it does sound so risky. But if doctors give him clearance and he can be had on the cheap, how do you say no to someone who has a history of great play. At least they could give him a try with no guaranteed money of course.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    I certainly hope you’re right. I agree Adams has real potential as right tackle. Moving him was a mistake. Beachum, however, does not display the power you want in a starting tackle. Gilbert is gone after next year, so we are already thin. And if injuries occur, and they always do, we can’t fall back on undrafted free agents or the Jonathan Scott’s of the league. Good offensive lines make average backs, receivers, and even quarterbacks look. Can only imagine what Ben, Miller, Bell, and Brown would do with a very good line.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    I certainly hope you’re right. I agree Adams has real potential as right tackle. Moving him was a mistake. Beachum, however, does not display the power you want in a starting tackle. Gilbert is gone after next year, so we are already thin. And if injuries occur, and they always do, we can’t fall back on undrafted free agents or the Jonathan Scott’s of the league. Good offensive lines make average backs, receivers, and even quarterbacks look. Can only imagine what Ben, Miller, Bell, and Brown would do with a very good line.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    If he is cleared to play, if he is cheap ,if he can tackle AND catch then why not let him compete see what hes got

  • Dewayne Braxton

    It is doubtful that he’ll be any better than Clark but we don’t have anything to lose.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Hope he gets a chance to get his career restarted . It wouldn’t hurt to see if he still has anything left in the tank after being out of football for a couple of years now.

  • Matt Manzo

    Awesome! More scouting for me to do!

  • Shannon Stephenson

    2 years out of the game at the age of 30 makes it a tough comeback. Why not take a look but at this moment it isnt a exciting thought for a solution.

  • Axe Skot

    Safety with a cervical spine fusion? I don’t think so.

  • Bartholomew Wimer

    Pretty sure you meant to say CLAVICLE surgery… not CERVICAL, though that would make for an interesting story

  • Alan Felicia

    Even though he’s 30, Collins hasn’t played since 2011 and coming off Neck fusion surgery that forced him to retire. For his own safety, I hope he changes his mind and stay retired.

  • Axe Skot

    Nope, the cervical spine is the portion from the shoulders to the skull.

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