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Austin Collie wants to keep playing, draws inspiration from Pagano

Austin Collie

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Austin Collie during practice at the NFL team’s football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Tuesday, July 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Wide receiver Austin Collie said that he appreciated the way the Colts informed him that they weren’t going to be re-signing him as a free agent next month.

Collie said it “showed a lot of class” for owner Jim Irsay to tell him in person that Indianapolis was moving in a different direction. Collie plans to continue playing after a series of concussions and last September’s torn patellar tendon, although he admits he doesn’t know where or even if he’ll be plying his trade in 2013.

Collie also admitted to getting pretty far down in the dumps after the knee injury that ended his 2012 season in his first appearance. It was less than a week later that Colts coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, an event that Collie said snapped him out of his doldrums.

“I learned a lot from Chuck,” Collie said, via Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star. “One of the biggest things is just when you think things can’t get any worse, you know, they get worse. After hearing about Chuck’s (diagnosis), I decided my situation was pretty minute compared to that. Just to see him come back and overcome that gave me hope. He was an inspiration to me.”

Collie says his knee feels better than it has in the last four or five years, but his injury history is going to make teams reticent to make any kind of guarantee when it comes to salary or employment. Collie’s going to have to show a lot of fight to get close to where he was before all the injuries, but he’s certainly picked the right inspiration for his quest.