Teammates struggling to deal with recent shooting of Collier

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars linebacker Clint Ingram spent about 14 hours at the hospital Tuesday, waiting with teammates, coaches and Richard Collier's family and friends.

He didn't get any of the answers he wanted.

"I just really want to know how he's feeling, you know, and go in there and maybe whisper something in his ear to let him know we're behind him," Ingram said Wednesday. "I just want to go in there and let him know that one of his close friends and part of his family is behind him and backing him up."

Collier remained in critical condition a day after getting shot in the front seat of his Cadillac Escalade. The Jaguars, meanwhile, returned to practice still thinking about their teammate who was fighting for his life less than 2 miles away.

The 26-year-old offensive tackle and former teammate Kenneth Pettway were waiting for two women outside an apartment complex early Tuesday when a gunman fired into the vehicle, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Collier was shot several times, but it was unclear where the 6-foot-7, 345-pound linemen was hit. Pettway was not injured.

Collier had surgery at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, and updates on his condition have been scarce because family members requested privacy. Coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday that Collier was still in critical condition.

Del Rio also said the Jaguars were trying to get back into their routine in preparation for Sunday's season opener at Tennessee.

"We've got to handle it and then we've got to move on," Del Rio said. "That's what we're going to do, that's what we have to do. When you face adversity, when you deal with situations that come up, you've got to be able to handle them and you've got to be able to move through and deal with the issues that are there. And then you've got to be able to continue on as a football team, and that's what we'll do."

Ingram, Collier's closest friend on the team, was most affected by the news. He went to the hospital early Tuesday, left for a few minutes around lunchtime and then returned for the rest of the night. He planned to return Wednesday after practice.

"The only thing we really know right now is to wait on time," Ingram said. "I'm really not in a position to go into it and tell what's going on. I do know a few small details that I'd rather keep to myself."

Running back Fred Taylor, cornerback Rashean Mathis and several others met Tuesday night for a prayer session.

"When it hits at home, you can really feel it," Taylor said. "The thing that happened in Denver last year (Darrent Williams' shooting), the thing that happened with Sean (Taylor) and a few other things that happened in the past with traffic accidents and stuff, you hear it and say, "Damn, I feel sorry for that person and his family,' and you just go on with your daily routines and life.

Height: 6-7

Weight: 345

Experience: 3

College: Valdosta State

"But when it hits right here in your back yard, it's like, 'Damn, this is real.' We take a lot of things for granted, but this is real. Life is precious, and it's short."

Collier is the third NFL player shot in the past 18 months. Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor was fatally shot during what police said was a botched burglary attempt at his Miami-area home in November. Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was killed when his rented limousine was sprayed with bullets minutes after leaving a New Year's party at a club in 2007.

The motive behind the attack on Collier was unknown, and the sheriff's office said it did not have any suspects in the case.

The shooting happened around 2:45 a.m. in a middle- to upper middle-class neighborhood near downtown Jacksonville. The players had gone to the apartment complex so the women could drop off their car, authorities said.

"You see this stuff in the news and it happens all of the time, but it really doesn't hit you hard until it hits your home," Ingram said. "Rich is just like my brother; we're close friends. ... When you spend a lot of time with a person like that and you're real close friends, something like this gets to you real bad."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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