Austin Collie, the newest San Francisco 49er receiver, has had concussion issues in the past. Yet, as an Indianapolis Colt, he showed signs of greatness. He developed into a quality slot receiver for Peyton Manning. Yet, he showed that he could be so much more—if he could only stay on the football field. If Collie can avoid another concussion—which would threaten not only his career, but his life—he has the potential to develop into a Pro Bowler.
Some arguments have been presented against Collie. The most prominent one is a glimpse at his statistics during his time with the Colts—they are quite similar to Michael Crabtree’s first couple of seasons in the NFL. This perspective is highly skewed. First and foremost, Collie played on the Colts. These were the Marvin Harrison-Reggie Wayne-Dallas Clark Colts. Of course Collie would not be the number one target! I remember watching him game after game after game with Indianapolis and always coming away impressed. His work ethic, as well, is impressive and respected anyone I have heard comment on it. I expect Austin Collie to be much better for the 49ers from a statistical standpoint with Crabs out of the lineup. He’d be a great slot receiver too if A.J. Jenkinstruly is as impressive as it has appeared this training camp.
The second main worry regarding Collie is his numerous concussions. These concussions have been horrific. As someone who saw at least two of his concussions on live TV, and as someone who has suffered numerous concussions, I feel deeply for the man. I also am concerned for his well-being every time he steps onto a football field. Yet, this is his job, his livelihood, and he stated that he would even sign a waiver if that is what it would take to play again. This is his life and his choice. He feels up to the challenge. Hopefully he can avoid another serious brain injury. This, however, is much more of a worry than his previous statistics.
Ultimately, Collie is on a low-paying one year deal. If he gets seriously injured, the consequences are not very high. If he can avoid injury, we may have the change-of-pace receiver we desperately need.