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Packers release safety Nick Collins

Safety Nick Collins' seven-year tenure with the Green Bay Packers is over.

During the same week the team cut offensive tackle Chad Clifton, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that the Packers will release Collins because they are not comfortable with him playing again after neck surgery.

The Packers later confirmed Collins' release, via a team statement.

"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 reportedly has been waiting to hear from doctors to find out if he will be cleared to play again after recurring neck injuries. Either those reports came back with bad news or the Packers already made their own conclusions that it's not safe for Collins to play again.

It wasn't so long ago that the three-time Pro Bowl safety was returning an interception for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Collins had 21 career interceptions, returning three for touchdowns in 2008.

We hope that Collins can play again, but we hope even more that he doesn't do anything to jeopardize his long-term health. The news could indicate that Collins might want to play again, but the Packers disagree.

The news also is a reminder that an NFL career can turn or end at almost any moment.

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