INDIANAPOLIS – Austin Collie keeps telling the Indianapolis Colts he feels good.
Teammates and coaches are praying he is.
Less than 24 hours after coach Chuck Pagano confirmed the veteran receiver had suffered yet another concussion, discussions inside the teams usually jovial locker room took a serious turn out of concern for their friend.
Its scary, especially with all the information thats been coming out the last two years or whatever, said cornerback Jerraud Powers, who came to Indy in the same 2009 draft class as Collie. You see someone, you want whats best for them, and hes a smart enough guy that hell make the right decisions. Hes a heck of a player.
Hes also a player the young Colts desperately need this season.
With Andrew Luck replacing Peyton Manning, Collie and five-time Pro Bowler Reggie Wayne are expected to help Luck make the transition from college to the NFL and mentor a receiving corps that is almost entirely new.
Of the 13 players who caught passes for the Colts last season, only four are back – Wayne and Collie and running backs Donald Brown and Delone Carter.
In early November 2010, Collie was knocked unconscious after a vicious high-low combination from two Philadelphia Eagles safeties. He sat out the next week against Cincinnati, then tried to return the following week against New England but left early with what the team described as concussion-like symptoms.
Team officials never confirmed it was a full-blown concussion.
Collie didnt return again until Dec. 19 against Jacksonville, a game in which he took another big hit and was diagnosed with a second full-blown concussion, ending his season.
When Collie returned last year, he insisted he was OK. He finished with 54 receptions, 514 yards and one TD – all career-lows – but, of course, the Colts didnt have Manning, used three different quarterbacks and collapsed to a league-worst 2-14 record.
Collie watched the teams afternoon practice from the sideline, and though did not speak with reporters Tuesday, he did respond to fans concerns Monday night on Twitter.
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers. Im doing really well and feeling great, he wrote.
What happens next is up to the doctors and Collie.
He must pass a series of tests and be cleared by doctors before returning to action.
We came in together, so Im closer to him than some others here, Powers said. Well see how hes doing and what hes thinking.
Notes: Andrew Luck is likely to see his most extensive playing time of the preseason at Washington.
Pagano plans to play most of his starters into the second half Saturday. His plan is to use his starters until halftime, make adjustments and send the Colts starters back out to see how they adjust.