In September of 2008, Jaguars offensive tackle Richard Collier was shot and critically wounded, ending his playing career and nearly ending his life.
More than two years later, Collier, who was paralyzed and had one leg amputated, still spends most of his time in a wheelchair. But his rehabilitation has progressed to the point that he can stand with the help of a prosthetic leg and a brace. And he did stand for an extended period of time recently, at his wedding.
“I plan on walking again,” Collier told FanHouse. “I really do. I don’t doubt myself, I don’t put limits on myself. I wake up every day and I smile and I laugh because I’m alive. They have told me I would never walk again, but, man, I stood at my wedding the entire time. I really wanted to stand tall at my wedding, to show people this is what I’ve been doing for the last year and a half. And I got to kiss my wife standing up.”
Collier says he has forgiven Tyrone Hartsfield, the man who is serving life in prison for the shooting. But he also says his anger at Hartsfield motivated him to work hard at rehabbing his badly injured body.
“That anger I felt then motivated me,” Collier said. “I didn’t want to be seen on TV as a guy looking down or being sad. I would not give anyone that power over me to let him think he defeated me.”
Collier still attends some Jaguars games, but he says he’s happy to have moved on with his life.
“I will always cherish those football memories,” Collier said, “but I don’t miss football, I really don’t.”