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Posted at 09:48 AM ET, 04/26/2012

Nick Collins released by Packers over health concerns

Nick Collins has been released by the Packers because of lingering concerns over the neck injury he suffered Sept. 18. (Rick Havner / AP)

The Green Bay Packers released safety Nick Collins, not because they don’t think he can play after suffering a neck injury last season but because of doubts about whether he should.

“From the beginning of this process, we have taken our time and sought numerous medical opinions while maintaining consistent dialogue with Nick,” Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said in a statement released by the team. “In the end, we were not comfortable clearing him to play again. As with all of our players, Nick is a member of our family and we thought of him that way as we came to this conclusion. Nick is a part of our core, and this is a very difficult day for all Packers. Making this kind of decision is never easy, especially when it involves someone like Nick Collins. He has meant so much to the community, his teammates and the organization. He is a good man and will always be part of the Packers family.”

Collins hurt his neck Sept.18 in a game against Carolina; he underwent cervical fusion surgery and has not decided whether to try to play for another team, according to his agent. Collins, a second-round draft pick in 2005, started 95 regular-season games and returned an interception for a touchdown in the Packers’ Super Bowl victory over Pittsburgh in 2011.

The cut is the second tough one for the Packers, who earlier this week released offensive tackle Chad Clifton. The Collins move was not unexpected, though. Packers Coach Mike McCarthy hinted recently that the team had reservations about his future. “To have Nick Collins back on the practice field and playing games would be huge,” McCarthy said, “but this is more than football. Nick’s a family man, he’s a father, that’s no fun standing over someone like that. I don’t think any coach wants to see one of their players go through that.”

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