The San Francisco 49ers are interested in receiver Austin Collie, just not interested enough to sign him right now.
The team's attitude is, we'll wait and see.
"The 49ers remain interested in former Colt Austin Collie, but they are unlikely to make a move on the free-agent wide receiver until after training camp begins, a source close to the situation said this week," Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wrote.
What's left unsaid is, there's no need to rush into any decision. If nobody has signed Collie yet, four months after free agency started, the 49ers don't have to worry about grabbing him now. The team, which will be without injured Michael Crabtree perhaps all season, wants to look at its young receivers in training camp first.
What makes this rather sad is, Collie is just 27 years old and three years ago he looked like a breakout star. It's one of the NFL's most heartbreaking stories in recent years.
In 2010, Collie had 58 catches (on 71 targets, a fantastic completion percentage), 649 yards and eight touchdowns in nine games. Over a full season that's about 103 catches, 1,154 yards and 14 touchdowns. Collie was in his second season and just 24 years old. But there's a reason he played just nine games.
As most fans know, Collie's career was derailed by injuries, particularly concussions. He was carted off the field when he suffered a vicious concussion at Philadelphia. He was on the field two weeks later. Later in the season, on a seam route against Jacksonville, linebacker Daryl Smith knocked him out. Collie had eight catches for 87 yards in the second quarter of that game but didn't return, which is fitting of his career.
Now Collie, who suffered at least one more concussion that was confirmed, against Pittsburgh in the preseason last year, waits. A knee injury limited him to one game and one catch last season. He's gone so far as to tell USA Today he'd sign a waiver, if a team is worried about his concussion history, just to get a shot.
"I'll sign a waiver, all right?" he told USA Today. "They're not going to have to worry about me suing. I'll hold myself to be accountable."
He's just 27, and has never signed the big contract that looked like he would get when he was one of the NFL's bright young stars a few years ago. Now he's hoping for a job. Nobody is in a rush to give him one.
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