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Steve Cofield

Did MMA event warp the mind of alleged killer?

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

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This may be the most ridiculous headline ever but I'd figured that I would beat some mainstream media clown to this stupid assertion. Former Nebraska running back Thunder Collins was arrested yesterday in Omaha on charges of first degree murder. In the AP account, there was a line about a former teammate seeing Collins recently at Ultimate Fight Night 15:

Eric Crouch, the 2001 Heisman Trophy winner who played with Collins at Nebraska, said Collins seemed to be doing well when the two bumped into each other at the Ultimate Fighting Championship matches in Omaha last week. Crouch said they spoke for about 20 minutes.

I'm saying it jokingly, but who will be the first media person or politician to say, "see we told you, these are the types of people who go to see this human cockfighting!"

The arrest yesterday looks like the final chapter of what has been a sad story. The 29-year old grew up in South Central L.A. Collins told reporters in the past that both his father and brother were killed in gang shootings. He attended Nebraska with hopes of escaping his rough background. It never happened. He was often in trouble while a Husker and even more following his days toting the pigskin.

In 2002, Collins pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace in Lincoln. That was part of an agreement with prosecutors to drop two assault charges connected to alleged fights with the same woman in Lincoln.

In 2003, he was acquitted of assault and burglary charges in Corvallis, Ore. Those charges stemmed from his alleged confrontation with an Oregon State football player and Collins' ex-girlfriend.

In 2006 he was sentenced to 10 days in jail after he pleaded no contest to obstructing an Omaha police officer. Witnesses said Collins had been involved in a shooting, and police found marijuana in his pocket.

Crouch said Collins reminded him of fellow Nebraska nutcase Lawrence Phillips in that both always seemed to feel like they had a thug image to uphold. The former Nebraska QB may be onto something. A quick check of Collins' Myspace page features a backdrop of a gun toting Tony Montana from Scarface. And plenty of 'menacing' photos of Collins with his 'Hollywood Sexy Bad Boy' image.

The Nebraska media seemed to love Collins and his story doing multiple features on his efforts to play pro football and get his life straight.

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