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Thursday, July 7, 2011
Updated: July 11, 5:49 PM ET
Kerry Collins retires from NFL

ESPN.com news services

Quarterback Kerry Collins on Thursday announced his retirement from the NFL.

"The past several months have brought on much introspection, and I have decided that while my desire to compete on Sundays is still and always will be there, my willingness to commit to the preparation necessary to play another season has waned to a level that I feel is no longer adequate to meet the demands of the position," Collins said in a statement released by his agent, David Dunn.

The 38-year-old Collins was the first draft pick (fifth overall) of the expansion Carolina Panthers in 1995 out of Penn State. He led Carolina to the NFC Championship Game in his second season.

Besides Carolina, he also played for the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans in 16 seasons. He threw for 40,441 yards with 206 touchdowns and 195 interceptions and was a two-time Pro Bowler (1996 and 2008).

"I feel very fortunate to have played with and to have been coached by some of the greatest the game has ever seen. I feel especially fortunate to have played under some of the true patriarchs of the modern game: Joe Paterno, the late Wellington Mara, Al Davis and Bud Adams," Collins said in the statement.

Collins also made headlines during his career for troubles off the field.

He was called a racist for his attempt at a drunken joke in 1997 during his time with the Panthers -- in which he used a derogatory racial term in the presence of a black teammate. He was called a quitter for asking Carolina coach Dom Capers to bench him in 1998; he got cut instead. His short stint in New Orleans was noteworthy for a photo after a drunk driving arrest in which Collins was swaggering down a street, cigar in hand, after being released from jail.

However, Collins went through alcohol rehab and then got a third NFL chance -- from the Giants -- in the form of a four-year, $16.9 million contract. Off the field he worked with the team's psychiatrist, and in his sixth NFL season he helped the Giants to the Super Bowl.

But by 2004, the Giants had obtained Eli Manning. Collins asked for his release from the Giants and got it; New York signed Kurt Warner to help break in Manning in his stead. Then he signed with Oakland for two seasons and was one of the few weapons on a franchise that even then had turned into one of the NFL's worst.

Former Titans coach Jeff Fisher wanted Collins in 2006 for his arm and his knowledge to help teach Vince Young how to be an NFL quarterback. However, Collins took over for an injured Young after the first game in 2008 and led the Titans to a 12-3 record and the top seed in the AFC.

Young thanked Collins for his guidance in a tweet Thursday.

"Respect to my boy Kerry Collins decision he made thanks for what u have taught me n the years we have played will b miss big 5," Young tweeted.

With the retirement of Collins and the expected release or trade of Young once the NFL's lockout is lifted, the Titans will have a complete overhaul of their quarterback position in 2011 under new coach Mike Munchak.

The team drafted quarterback Jake Locker with the eighth overall pick in April. Rusty Smith, who will enter his second year with the team, will be the only other quarterback currently on the roster.

In his farewell statement, Collins wished the Titans luck.

"I want to wish Mike Munchak and the Tennessee Titans the best of luck in the future. I have had a fantastic five years here, and my family and I look forward to remaining part of the Middle Tennessee community that has been extremely gracious towards us and an honor to play for," he said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.