Austin Collie may yet find himself a new NFL home, though it likely won't happen until teams get into training camp.
A report from the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrow indicates that the former BYU wide receiver is on the San Francisco 49ers' radar, according to a source close to the situation.
Collie, who was released by the Indianapolis Colts in February, has had workouts with the 49ers and the New England Patriots this offseason. His name has also surfaced in connection with the Baltimore Ravens' wide receiver depth issues.
Any interested party likely won't sign Collie until training camp begins and teams have the chance to assess the ability of their wide receivers. Veterans report to camp on July 24 for the 49ers and Ravens, and July 25 for the Patriots.
Last week, Collie spoke with radio station KHTK in Sacramento about his well-known concussion issues, a big reason why teams have shied away from signing him before now. He also missed most of the 2012 season with a torn patella tendon.
Asked if he's scared by concussions at this point in his career, Collie said, “Not really. If it was one of those things that I had a history of concussions and now I’m getting worse or more-and-more frequent then it would definitely be a worry of mine in the near future, but I’ve known players who play with 9 or 10 concussions and who have lived on to have successful careers and haven’t had any symptoms later on in life, so again everyone is different. Everyone handles each injury different and hopefully down the road it’ll be perfectly fine."
Here's a look at the receiving situations at three of the possible landing spots for Collie:
The 49ers are looking for receiver help after starter Michael Crabtree, who had 1,105 receiving yards last year, suffered a complete tear of his right Achilles' heel in late May. He is expected to miss at least the first three months of the 2013 season.
San Francisco added All-Pro Anquan Boldin during the offseason in a trade with Baltimore and he will start at wide receiver for the 49ers, but the team is looking for someone to start opposite him while Crabtree is out.
Fourth-year wideout Kyle Williams, who had 22 catches for 212 yards last year, is hoping to be back in camp after recovering from an ACL tear last November. The 49ers signed Brandon Carswell last month, only to have him go down with an ACL tear. Among the other wide receivers on San Franciso's roster are a slew of unproven commodities.
In New England, the Patriots have been hit hard among their receiving options by a variety of issues. While the tight end situation has garnered the most attention — with Aaron Hernandez being arrested in a murder case and Rob Gronkowski still recovering from back surgery — the team's wide receiving corp took a big hit when Wes Welker signed with the Denver Broncos. The team also didn't re-sign Brandon Lloyd, who had 911 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season.
While the Patriots brought in Danny Amendola from St. Louis, the team will need to find options to replace the contributions of the now-released Hernandez, and possibly Gronkowski if his recovery takes longer than expected.
The Super Bowl champion Ravens, like the 49ers and Patriots, are looking for veteran help after sending their top wide receiver, Boldin, to San Francisco in a simply financial move.
Baltimore's top wide receiver now is Torrey Smith, who had a breakout season last year with 49 receptions for 855 yards and eight touchdowns. Speedster Jacoby Jones' could become more than just a long-ball threat, and former BYU tight end Dennis Pitta is expected to play a bigger role in the team's offense after catching 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season in 2012.
Beyond that, however, the Ravens have a handful of wide receivers, including former Utah wideout David Reed, on the roster with little game experience. If no one stands out in training camp, a Collie-and-Pitta reunion could be in order.
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