NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Quarterback Kerry Collins is retiring from the NFL after 16 seasons in the league, his agent announced Thursday.
"The past several months have brought on much introspection, and I have decided that while my desire to compete on Sundays is still and always will be there, my willingness to commit to the preparation necessary to play another season has waned to a level that I feel is no longer adequate to meet the demands of the position," Collins said in a statement.
Collins, 38, was facing free agency after his contract expired in March, though he said as recently as last month that he still wanted to play. Tennessee has said it plans to trade or release quarterback Vince Young after the NFL lockout ends, which would leave just this year's eighth-overall draft pick, Jake Locker, and Rusty Smith, a sixth-round pick in last year's draft, on the roster at the position.
Collins shared the stage with Young in his final season despite suffering injuries to his middle finger and thumb. Collins took over for good after Young suffered a season-ending injury to his right thumb on Nov. 21, though the Titans only won one of their final six games.
"Kerry had a great NFL career and we have been very fortunate to have had him with our organization for the last five years," Titans coach Mike Munchak said in a statement. "I really enjoyed working with him. He was a true pro, who loved the game. His work ethic and commitment were a great example to his teammates of what it took to be successful in this league."
In 195 career games, Collins maintained a 55.8 completion percentage and threw for 40,441 yards, 206 touchdowns and 195 interceptions.
He was the fifth overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 1995 NFL draft after playing at Penn State. He also played for the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and Oakland Raiders.
As a starter, Collins lead his team to the playoffs four times, including an NFL Championship appearance during the 1996 season with the Panthers and a Super Bowl appearance with the Giants in the 2000 season.
In his statement, Collins said he was fortunate to have played for longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno, the late Giants co-owner Wellington Mara, Raiders owner Al Davis and Titans owner Bud Adams.
"I would like to thank all of those coaches, players and other team personnel along the way who have shaped me both personally and professionally," Collins said. "I want to wish Mike Munchak and the Tennessee Titans the best of luck in the future. I have had a fantastic five years here, and my family and I look forward to remaining part of the Middle Tennessee community that has been extremely gracious towards us and an honor to play for."