News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 7, 2012

Collie hopeful to play Sunday in Chicago

Indianapolis receiver leaving it up to coaches, doctors

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Austin Collie wants to play Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts begin the 2012 National Football League season in Chicago.

The question, however, is whether Collie — who suffered a concussion against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second week of preseason — will be allowed to play.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano indicated earlier in the week that the talented wide receiver was a “full-go” for this week’s game with the Bears. Collie, though, said Thursday that he’s going to take a wait-and-see stance before knowing if he’ll be available.

“It’s day-to-day. It’s up to the doctors. It’s up to the coaches. Whatever the doctors say, whatever the coaches say, I’m going to obey. I’m going to do as they say,” the former BYU standout stated in an extensive interview session with the team’s media.  

“I’m really not focused about that right now. I’m not focused about Sunday or what’s going to happen. What I’m focused on now is just getting better [Thursday].”

When asked again if he would be in the starting lineup Sunday, Collie hedged a bit.

“Like I said, it’s a day-to-day thing. We’re just going to continue to see how I feel,” he voiced. “I don’t want to make a definite statement of yes I am playing on Sunday, no I’m not playing on Sunday because we still have time. I want to see how things go [Thursday]. I want to see how things go [today] and we’ll go from there.”

Collie feels as if he’s ready to go.

“You ask any player who’s been sitting around for a couple weeks, you get antsy. You come into the complex every single day, you watch film that you’re not in. You have to hear your coaches basically talk to other guys but you about different routes, different techniques and stuff like that. You kind of get a little lonely, you kind of get antsy to get back out there but the main thing is I just stay patient,” he voiced.  

“Like I said, take it day-by-day. You can’t let that anxiety or antsiness to get back out there overwhelm you and take over the fact that you’ve got to do what’s good to get over your health. That’s wait and wait. If you’re ready to play, then wait.”

n New helmet — After experiencing four concussions since the start of the 2010 season, Collie is now wearing different helmet than the one he wore in the Pittsburgh preseason game.

He has tried several different helmets since coming into the league in an attempt to try and ward off concussion issues. Some work better than others. Some were specially made for Collie. He thinks that he has finally found the right one.

“The helmet I’m wearing now is a Xenith. You’re welcome, Xenith, for that plug,” he joked. “It’s the helmet I tried before and they came out with a new model and I like it. It’s a new helmet that I’ve tried this last week and this week. Like I said, I tried [Xenith] before and I didn’t like it but it was an older model.

“They came out with a newer model that I like really well. I’ve talked to [former Colts tight end] Dallas [Clark] about it and he said he loves it. He had concussion issues early on in his career and he said it saved him. So hopefully it can do the same for me.”

Collie has also tried helmets made by Schutt and by noted auto racing equipment designer Bill Simpson. It’s been part of an ongoing effort to find the right fit that combines comfort and safety.

n Thanks fans for caring — The Colts receiver acknowledged the outpouring of support from fans after his latest concussion episode. And he understands why many of those fans, as well as some in the media, think that he should retire rather than risk yet another concussion.

“I’m grateful that I have fans, that the Colts have fans like that, that are loyal, writers that are loyal, that want what’s best for me. I think me and my family are the only ones who know what’s best for me and it’s our decision. This is our life, my career and just kind of leave it at that,” Collie said.

“Obviously people are going to have their opinion, people are going to have basically an idea of what I should do and what my family should say or how they should intervene or how the coaches should intervene or how the organization should intervene and that’s fine. Everyone should have their own opinion but when it all comes down to it, it’s my choice, it’s my wife’s choice, it’s my family’s choice so that’s it.”

He added that he has talked to doctors and head trauma specialists about all of his concussion issues.

“That’s really the only opinion outside of my family that I care about, what the doctors say. As of right now, we’re moving forward,” Collie said. “Again it’s just a day-by-day thing. There is no definite time table so right now we are just taking it day-by-day and the first step was to get back out there and practice again and that’s what I’m doing and I feel good.

“Obviously, I think everybody in this locker room thinks about what’s going to happen long-term, whether you’ve had concussions or whether you’ve had major knee surgeries or what not. It’s part of the game and that’s a sacrifice that I think we all knew we were going to make coming into the NFL. When we do get older, there are going to be some aches and some pains. And everyone can sit there and say, ‘Yeah but it’s your head.’ But if the doctors say I’m okay and everything checks out, then I’m going to go.”

n Injury report — Offensive guard Joe Reitz (knee) has yet to practice this week. He’ll probably be a game-time decision. If Reitz can’t go, either Seth Olsen or Jeff Linkenbach are expected to start against the Bears.

Rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (shoulder) and Collie both saw limited work Thursday. Defensive end Cory Redding (knee), cornerback Jerraud Powers (knee), running back Delone Carter (ribs) and running back Mewelde Moore (ribs) all saw full work.