INDIANAPOLIS - Two violent collisions put Colts wide receiver Austin Collie on the bench last season and left fans wondering if he would, or should, play football again.
In his first television interview since the concussions, Collie talked exclusively with Eyewitness Sports about the hits, his health and the future.
The last time Colts fans saw Austin Collie was when he was knocked unconscious at Lucas Oil Stadium against Jacksonville. He walked away from a vicious hit in December. But Collie's second NFL season was over.
"I'm very anxious [to play football again]. I'm very anxious to go in that locker room on Sunday and suit up for our first game. It's kind of all I can think about. My wife can attest to that," said Collie.
The Colts 25-year-old wide receiver is finally ready to talk about the two devastating blows he took last season. The first came November 7th in Philadelphia, a hit he does not remember.
"Actually watched; looked it up on YouTube and watched the hit 'cause I had no idea what happened. From my standpoint obviously I couldn't remember anything. It kind of seemed like a bigger ordeal with the stretcher and stuff like that than it was. Obviously they've gotta take their precautionary measures but it was funny just because I felt, that night, I was a little nauseous maybe, had a little bit of a headache, but I felt normal," he said.
Collie sat out one game with a concussion. He returned against the Patriots and caught five passes. But he left the game with lingering symptoms. Collie rested three more games. Six weeks after the first concussion of his career, Collie suffered his second against the Jaguars.
"Just because I had the first one, that doesn't mean that is what caused the second one. I feel that the second one was just as violent and if I hadn't got the first one I probably would have got a concussion anyways with the second one. I would be worried if it was just a minor ding or a minor hit that had caused the concussion but to be quite honest, I think the second one was more violent," said Collie.
Asked if he's okay, Collie responded, "I am. I feel great. I've been able to rest and take it easy."
Eyewitness Sports asked him if he had any serious thoughts about the future of his football career being in doubt.
"Never. Never. Some can say I'm stupid for not thinking that but an injury's an injury, and these are the only two I've had in my entire life and like I said, they're both pretty violent hits. I want to say that I'm lucky. It's just an unlucky year," he said.
Collie does not want to be the case study for heightened concussion awareness in the NFL. He says both hits on him were clean. He just wants to prove he's fine and expects a special season.
On the question of whether he's being naive, he says it doesn't matter to him what other people think. "It is my body. It is my career. It is my future. I know what's stupid and what's not. I know what's gonna be the right decision and what's gonna be the wrong decision. I know football isn't everything in this life. I know it's just a game."
Collie doesn't want to be a case study in concussion awareness in the NFL. He also says both hits on him were clean. He just wants to prove he's fine, and expects a special season.
"Just the Colts fans, get ready for an amazing season. Get ready to have a home field Super Bowl," said Collie.