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Ex-Jag Richard Collier is “on cloud nine” nearly six years after being paralyzed

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It’s a slow Friday in the football world, which gives us a bit of time to catch up on some stories that don’t have to do with the draft or the coming season.

Vito Stellino wrote one of them in the Florida Times Union about former Jaguars offensive tackle Richard Collier. Collier’s NFL career came to an end after just nine games when he was paralyzed after being shot 14 times by a man who has since been sentenced to life in prison.

Collier went on to have part of one leg amputated as a result of the 2008 shooting, but told Stellino that he has forgiven the shooter while forging ahead with a fulfilling life that no longer includes football. Collier speaks against gun violence, runs a foundation called The Spirit Strong, rehabs diligently and plays father to twin sons he had with his wife earlier this month. It’s all part of a life that Collier says “keeps getting better” almost six years after his football career and much more were cruelly taken away from him.

“It was a bad situation, but no one can ever take away my joy. I am still smiling, just enjoying life,” Collier said. “It was hard at first, but I got around to smelling the roses. I take every day and appreciate it. I could have died. Somebody was looking over me. I don’t take it for granted. Life is great. No matter what the situation is, I’m on cloud nine. Everything I want, I have right in front of me.”

Collier remains hopeful that medical advances will help him make even more progress and we share that hope for him and anyone else in a similar position, but remains positive that everything will work out even if they don’t. After reading Stellino’s profile, it’s hard not to share that feeling.

 

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24 Responses to “Ex-Jag Richard Collier is “on cloud nine” nearly six years after being paralyzed”
  1. swanderj1 says: Apr 18, 2014 5:59 PM

    A very strong man.

  2. opinion157983 says: Apr 18, 2014 6:24 PM

    Wow has it been that long already? Happy to hear he’s doing so well. Wish him nothing but the best.

  3. unbridledsexy says: Apr 18, 2014 6:24 PM

    14 times!?!

  4. canadianbucsfan says: Apr 18, 2014 6:27 PM

    This guy is a boss.

  5. stampnhawk says: Apr 18, 2014 6:36 PM

    Bravo for fighting through everything thrown at you and not giving up, or hitting the bottle or drugs as so many do.

    Honorable mention to a fantastic wife who stuck by him back then and through to today. I’d bet the number of NFL fiances who’d leave their paralyzed husband, after suddenly losing out on the millions of dollars he’d make over the next 3-5 years, at well over 75%. And as a reward, (well, “reward“ until they reach the age of 2 to 4),twins.

  6. irishdodger says: Apr 18, 2014 6:41 PM

    Great story!

  7. omniscientmoi says: Apr 18, 2014 6:43 PM

    Let’s all fight against gun violence.

  8. jagsandliquor says: Apr 18, 2014 6:46 PM

    Great story…Great lesson

  9. jville808 says: Apr 18, 2014 7:26 PM

    “Honorable mention to a fantastic wife who stuck by him back then and through to today. I’d bet the number of NFL fiances who’d leave their paralyzed husband, after suddenly losing out on the millions of dollars he’d make over the next 3-5 years, at well over 75%. And as a reward, (well, “reward“ until they reach the age of 2 to 4),twins.”

    Unless she’s one of the girls he got shot over, I don’t think she was around back then. IIRC he was shot by a jealous ex boyfriend of one of the girls he and another teammate left the club with one night. Still a great story nonetheless…he’s always been a standup guy

  10. GenoAtkinswillnotbestopped says: Apr 18, 2014 7:33 PM

    You just gotta keep on livin’ man L-I-V-I-N

  11. tinbender2000 says: Apr 18, 2014 7:37 PM

    As someone else living in the bonus round of life I know the joy he speaks of. Everything he says, I feel every morning when I wake up surrounded with my wife and daughter, everything I need.

  12. The Red Rifle says: Apr 18, 2014 7:38 PM

    Dalton > this guy

  13. 13arod says: Apr 18, 2014 8:28 PM

    glad he is happy hope he has a great love still sad to hear that their are people in the world that cause violence

  14. whodeydynasty says: Apr 18, 2014 8:28 PM

    Dalton is easily the better man

  15. wdcskins says: Apr 18, 2014 8:48 PM

    The Jags don’t have a whole lot that they can be proud of, but they can be proud of this guy wearing their gear, even if only for a short time.

  16. orivar says: Apr 18, 2014 8:52 PM

    It’s funny how I read this just after going through an hour or two worth of “Happy” videos. This man was shot fourteen times, lost his career, had a leg amputated, and is still enjoying life.

    ‘Bring me down, can’t nothing’ is very appropriate here.

  17. barrywhererufrom says: Apr 18, 2014 9:05 PM

    God Bless!!

  18. justwinsomeday says: Apr 18, 2014 9:35 PM

    wow……those boys couldn’t have a better role model. He sounds like quite a man.

  19. berniemadoffsides says: Apr 18, 2014 10:08 PM

    That is an amazing attitude to have.

  20. mrtullymars says: Apr 18, 2014 11:30 PM

    Mr. Collier, I believe my dad was your jr. high coach. I wish you nothing but the best. I have to admit that your attitude toward your situation is much more positive than mine would probably be.

    All the best.

  21. mp4philly says: Apr 18, 2014 11:35 PM

    Wow. Strong man. Kudos to that spirit.

  22. stl333 says: Apr 18, 2014 11:48 PM

    Would love to see more stories like this. Life after football can be good, happy for him.

  23. oldfootballisbetter says: Apr 19, 2014 1:14 AM

    wow….kinda makes me think what a clown i am. thanks dude!

  24. colv says: Apr 19, 2014 7:49 AM

    Now here’s an exception rather then the norm. An honest, loving , caring and committed human being. Making the best out of a terrible situation. Godspeed!

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