(Football) is something that I feel like I’m good at. It’s a gift that I’ve been given and I want to maximize that gift. I feel like I have a lot more left to give. If I didn’t feel that way, if I didn’t feel like I had more to give, (if) I felt like I maximized my potential already, I’d walk away, but I still feel like I have a lot more. —New England Patriots wide receiver Austin Collie
The New England Patriots have apparently taken Austin Collie up on his claim he would sign a waiver to continue playing football in the NFL.
Aaron Wilson of National Football Post reported Saturday that Collie's one-year deal with New England does include an injury waiver. Wilson said the veteran minimum contract is for $715,000.
Collie, who's suffered several concussions and a torn patella tendon during his NFL career, did not want to discuss his injury history when talking to reporters Friday.
"I’d rather not. I’d rather not talk about that," Collie told the Boston Herald. "Guys, I’d rather not talk about the concussions or the past injuries. I’m ready to put all that stuff behind me and move on. I’m just worried about being here. Being a part of this team and helping any way I can."
In June, the former BYU wide receiver told USA Today he would sign a waiver, if it meant he would be given the opportunity to continue fulfilling his dreams of playing in the NFL.
Collie has had a busy few days, arriving in Foxborough, Mass., around 3 a.m. Thursday, according to the Herald. It's not certain how much Collie, after two days of practice with the Patriots, will factor into New England's plans for its game against Cincinnati on Sunday.
Right now, though, the Patriots have just two other healthy wide receivers on their roster: Julian Edelman and Josh Boyce. Danny Amendola has missed three games with a groin injury — he is listed as questionable for the Patriots' game against the Bengals — and rookies Kenbrell Thompkins (shoulder) and Aaron Dobson (neck) were banged up during New England's week four win over Atlanta.
Regardless, Collie is happy to be back on the field. It is a familiar place to the 2009 fourth-round draft pick who had 118 catches for 1,325 yards and 15 touchdowns during his first two NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.
“When you’re not playing, obviously you’ve been doing something since you were a little kid and it’s kind of what you know,” Collie told the Herald. “It’s kind of what you’re used to at this time of year, playing football. But thankful for me, I’m here and playing.”
In New England, Collie could benefit from joining with Amendola and Edelman, wide receivers he worked out with in Los Angeles during the 2011 NFL lockout.
Collie is also looking forward to working with another elite quarterback in Tom Brady, after developing a strong football rapport with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.
“Obviously you’re behind the 8 ball a little bit,” Collie told NESN.com's Doug Kyed about learning the Patriots’ offense with the season well underway. “But hopefully with a little extra study time, a little more time with my coach, a little more time with Tom, help from the wide receivers, I’ll be able to pick it up quick.”
The former Cougar who has played in just one regular-season game since the end of the 2011 NFL season is also determined to show he can still make an impact on the field.
“(Football) is something that I feel like I’m good at. It’s a gift that I’ve been given and I want to maximize that gift,” Collie told the Herald. “I feel like I have a lot more left to give. If I didn’t feel that way, if I didn’t feel like I had more to give, (if) I felt like I maximized my potential already, I’d walk away, but I still feel like I have a lot more.”
Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @brandonljudd