The surprise of the day came from the Colts, who added veteran quarterback Kerry Collins less than three weeks before Week One. The development makes clear the team’s concern regarding the status of starter Peyton Manning, who is recovering from neck surgery.
Despite the obvious link between Collins’ arrival and Manning’s possible unavailability, Collins and the Colts are holding all cards close to their vest, to little surprise.
“I’m excited to be here,” Collins said in quotes distributed by the team. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for this organization and the teams they’ve put on the field over the years. Obviously, I’ve got some pretty significant history with people in this organization, starting with Coach [Jim] Caldwell. He was my quarterbacks coach at Penn State for three years. The Polians, of course, drafted me when I was in Carolina. [Receivers coach] Frank Reich, I played with in Carolina. There’s a lot of significant ties here that made it real attractive to come here.”
Though it’s unknown whether those ties would be enough to persuade Collins to merely hold a clipboard (something he didn’t want to do in Tennessee), Collins is claiming for now that the relationships drove the decision. “I knew it was going to have to be a special circumstance for me to come out of retirement, and this is it,” Collins said. “I just have a lot of respect for them and this organization as a whole. To come here and be able to help out is a great honor.”
Still, he thinks he’ll be ready to do more than simply watch Manning play.
“Ideally, you’d like to have a whole off-season, but everybody kind of faced it with the lockout,” Collins said. “There’s a solid two weeks before the first game. I’m confident I can get where I need to be to play, if I’m needed to play.”
The circumstances suggest something much stronger than “if”. In the end, there’s no way Collins would have given up his equivalent of Brett Favre’s tractor absent an indication that Collins will be on the field. For more, here’s the official PFT Live take on the situation.