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Unhappy Collins shows up to Packers minicamp

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Associated Press
June 23, 2009
— Yes, Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins showed up for the Green Bay Packers’ mandatory minicamp Monday. But that doesn’t mean he’s happy about his contract.

After a trying offseason that included the death of his father in May and widespread speculation after he skipped most of the team’s voluntary offseason workouts, Collins didn’t directly complain about his deal to reporters. But he also didn’t rule out the possibility of a holdout.


Asked if he would show up for camp if he didn’t have a new contract in place, Collins said simply, “We’ll see.”


Asked several times to clarify, Collins gave the same answer—strongly implying that he isn’t satisfied with his existing deal, which will pay him $3.045 million in 2009 but expires at the end of the season.


“That’s out of my hands,” Collins said. “I can’t control what they think about me, what they’re going to decide to do. All I can do is control what Nick Collins can control, and that’s go out there and play football.”


If he wasn’t subject to fines for missing a mandatory minicamp, would he still be there?


“That’s a good question,” Collins said. “I really don’t know.”


Collins referred other contract-related questions to his representatives. Agent David Butz was not immediately available for comment.


Collins’ father, Willie, died in May after a three-year battle with prostate cancer.


“It’s been tough, But I live day to day,” Collins said. “We knew it was coming, but we didn’t think it would be so quick. One day, everything would be fine. The next day, he was gone. You’ve just got to be prepared. It’s a tough situation, but you’ve got to move forward.”


On the field, Collins insisted he is fully up to speed on the Packers’ switch to a


3-4 alignment under a new defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, and a new cast of defensive assistant coaches.


Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Collins, who skipped most of the Packers’ voluntary organized team activity practices before showing up last week, is in good shape. The two spoke twice over the weekend, and McCarthy came away convinced that Collins wouldn’t take his lingering concerns to the field.


“I feel like his heart in mind are in the right place, and he wants to play some football,” McCarthy said.


Collins said he studied the team’s new defensive playbook and terminology while he was away from the team, and McCarthy said Collins seemed comfortable when he got back on the field with the first-team defense.


“He has a good understanding of the transition from the verbiage change, so he has been spending time in his book,” McCarthy said. “You can see that. But it’s definitely a challenge because all of those reps he missed, he has to make that up. We’re confident he’ll get that done.”


Collins’ absence has given other safeties—including free agent signee Anthony Smith, who missed Monday’s practice with a groin injury, and third-year player Aaron Rouse—more chances.


to show coaches what they can do. Collins said he wasn’t concerned that a long absence might cost him his job.


“I’m not worried about that,” Collins said. “Do I look like I’m worried?”


Notes

-- Charles Woodson and Will Blackmon were absent from Monday’s practice, but McCarthy said they were excused. McCarthy said Blackmon got married over the weekend and Woodson had a charity event scheduled.


-- With veteran Chad Clifton recovering from knee issues, fourth-year player Tony Moll has been a fixture at left tackle throughout offseason workouts. And McCarthy said Moll is more than just a placeholder. “He’s fighting for a position on our team, whether it be left tackle or going over and competing at right tackle,” he said.


-- McCarthy said rookie receiver Jamarko Simmons has a back injury.


-- Former NFL player Clay Matthews Jr., father of Packers first-round rookie linebacker Clay Matthews III, attended Monday’s practice.


-- McCarthy, who occasionally works a “team-building exercise” into the team’s schedule, canceled Monday’s afternoon practice to take players bowling.



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