After suggesting a willingness to return to the Titans for another season as the starter, veteran quarterback Kerry Collins has decided instead to retire from the NFL.
“After 16 fulfilling years of playing quarterback in the NFL, I am officially announcing my retirement from professional football,” Collins said in a statement released by Athletes First, the agency that represents him. “The past several months have brought much introspection, and I have decided that while my desire to compete on Sundays is still and always will be there, my willingness to commit to the preparation necessary to play another season has waned to a level that I feel is no longer adequate to meet the demands of the position.”
(Sounds like something Brett Favre would say. Three or four times.)
Drafted fifth overall by the Panthers out of Penn State in 1995, Collins has spent the last five seasons with the Titans. He appeared in 10 games, starting seven, in 2010. He also played for the Saints, Giants, and Raiders, leading New York to a berth in Super Bowl XXXV.
“I feel very fortunate to have played with and to have been coached by some of the greatest the game has ever seen,” Collins added. “I feel especially fortunate to have played under some of the true patriarchs of the modern game: Joe Paterno, the late Wellington Mara, Al Davis and Bud Adams. I would like to thank all of the coaches, players and other team personnel along the way who have shaped me both personally and professionally. I want to wish Mike Munchak and the Tennessee Titans the best of luck in the future. I have had a fantastic five years here, and my family and I look forward to remaining part of the Middle Tennessee community has been extremely gracious towards us and an honor to play for.”
Just last month, Collins said he would be willing to return to the Titans as the starter. It’s possible that he has been told, despite the no-contact rules of the lockout, that no such promises would or could be made.
And so the quarterback depth chart in Tennessee will lose the two men who have topped it since 2006: Collins and Vince Young. Moving forward, the job will fall to Jake Locker, Rusty Smith, and whichever veteran the team signs.
Collins finishes ninth on the all-time completion list with 3,439 (he’s ahead of Joe Montana and Dan Fouts), ninth in pass attempts with 6,163 (also ahead of Montana and Fouts), eleventh in passing yardage with 40,441 (behind Montana and Fouts but ahead of Jim Kelly, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, and Kurt Warner), 29th in passing touchdowns with 206, and 28th in interceptions with 195.