Quantcast
Home » News
Home » News

Kragthorpe: Is Austin Collie crazy? It's his life, his choices

Published June 16, 2013 3:35 pm

Former BYU star determined to continue career despite head injuries.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Austin Collie's father is acknowledging his bias, using the word as a disclaimer.

"I'm the dad," Scott Collie says, before endorsing his son as a proven NFL receiver, who's looking for a job.

And then he continues, "I think a team's crazy if they don't bring Austin in."

Interesting choice of words, right?

There are those who believe that description fits former BYU star Austin Collie. He's so determined to keep playing football that he's willing to sign a waiver, making himself responsible for any long-term effects of concussions.

Collie must convince an NFL team that he's fully recovered from a knee injury and that he's not a risk, having been diagnosed with three concussions in his four-year pro career, including one during the 2012 preseason with the Indianapolis Colts.

He just wants to play, period. People can say he's making the wrong choice, but I'm supporting his right to decide. And on Father's Day, I'm saying Scott Collie is performing his role properly.

"I'm just a sounding board," he said.

Now, I'm not a father. I am, however, a son. I understand the position of those who say they would prevent Austin Collie from playing any more football, if he were their son, but I'm convinced that it's his decision.

This is what fathers do, whether their son is 7, 17 or 27, like Austin Collie: They listen, provide information, propose alternatives and then give full support.

So the Collies are united — and not foolishly so. His father says that if a doctor told Austin to stop playing, he would. As for everybody else, well, he appreciates their concern.

"The concussion piece is a non-topic to family and doctors in the know," Scott Collie said. "I've never not considered him coming back to play again."

Austin Collie is not being cavalier about this. He's a father of two children himself and is mindful of a life beyond football. He absolutely loves the game, though. No player I've ever been around is more immersed in football, and that's saying a lot.

Maybe this story would be different, if not for Collie's family background. He's both a son and a son-in-law of former BYU receivers, and his father has launched ReceiverTech, a nationwide business of teaching and evaluating young players at the position. Brooke Collie, who's a daughter of Kirk Pendleton and a sister of ex-Cougar linebacker Jordan Pendleton, understands football and her husband's passion for it.

Whether fans treasure Collie's fourth-and-18 catch against Utah in 2007 or resent his comments after that game, they have to respect his talent and admire his competitive drive — and understand why he feels unfulfilled.

Collie played a major role in the Colts' march to the Super Bowl in his rookie year. After two concussions shortened his 2010 season, he came back and produced good numbers the following year, even with a rotating cast of quarterbacks in Peyton Manning's absence.

You just know it was killing Collie to be sidelined by the knee injury this past season, when quarterback Andrew Luck took the Colts back to the playoffs.

So, others wonder if Collie understands what his life may become if he sticks with football. The reality is he's already discovered what life is like without it.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com