Should Colts make decision for Collie?

August, 22, 2012
8/22/12
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My initial reaction to learning that Austin Collie suffered another concussion was that we shouldn’t tell him what to do when it comes to whether he should continue to play.

[+] EnlargeAustin Collie
AP Photo/Tom DiPaceColts receiver Austin Collie has suffered several concussions over the past 22 months.
I didn’t think about whether the Colts should make a decision for him.

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star says the team simply can’t be party to any further concussions for the receiver.
“They need to make a bold, brash statement, tell Collie and the NFL, ‘We will not be party to the possible long-term decline of a player we care deeply about. He may play in another team’s uniform; that’s ultimately his decision — hopefully his informed decision. But we know what repeated concussions can do to a person, and we will not stand idly by as this terrific young guy mortgages his long-term future in pursuit of short-term gains.’”

It’s an interesting take. It could be a long time before Collie is cleared to return. He clearly grew frustrated with the last round of questions about his future, and the amplitude of the media and fan calls for him to retire.

With so many former players filing concussion-related lawsuits against the NFL and with the league putting such an emphasis on player safety, Collie finds himself under a bright light. He’s a live, current test case.

As a public figure playing in our most popular league, he has no choice but to accept that there is a huge interest in his fate.

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But it has to be difficult to be weighing his career and his health with such a wave of outside opinion coming at him.

Should the Colts cut him?

I don’t know. It seems extreme to me.

Maybe they can move more slowly in that direction. He wouldn’t have a say in the team putting him on IR, and for the price of his base salary ($1.308 million) they could ensure he doesn’t play this season and buy time for him, and them, to make the more long-term decision.

That’s really the best way to keep him from playing football this season.

Cut him and they make a symbolic statement that they are defending his health. If he wants to keep playing and can get medical clearance, he could quickly emerge elsewhere. And what will they have done for him other than washing their hands of the issue?

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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