An Open Letter to Austin Collie

Dear Mr. Collie,

I was wrong about you.

I know that’s sort of a blunt way to start, but why beat around the bush?  You are a far superior player than I realized.

You played well last year, and I was glad for it, but my enduring image of you was the big third down late in the Super Bowl.  You were isoed on a linebacker and Peyton tried to hit you in the endzone.  What struck me was how Jonathan Vilma stayed with you stride for stride.  I figured, “He’s a nice player, but doesn’t have the wheels to be anything more than a complimentary player.”

Like everyone else, I was impressed to hear about how hard you worked to learn the playbook and about your training sessions with Manning and Gonzo down in Tennessee. Still, I figured you had hit your peak already.  What we say from you last year, while impressive, was also the limits of your talent.  You’re a little older than most rookies.  I thought maybe that was a clue.

My first inkling that I had misjudged you was the break away touchdown against the Texans.  I didn’t blame you for the fumble, you were hit by three guys.  But when you followed that up by running away from the coverage, I thought, “Uh oh.  This guy might have a gear I didn’t count on”.

I realize that today wasn’t your first big day for the Horse.  Heck, it wasn’t even your most important game (that was the Jets, obviously).  Your decimation of the Broncos was, however, your most impressive day in the NFL.

We needed you today.  We needed every play you made.  With all the questions out there about your ability to be more than a 3rd down, over the middle, good hands, slow feet slot guy, you took over.

I realize you were taking throws from the greatest quarterback of our lifetime.  Granted.  Still, you got open short and long.  You made big yards after the catch.  You picked up a key third down on a bomb pass with the game on the line.  You did everything I wondered, no, doubted you could do.

You are a big time NFL wide receiver, and I couldn’t be more thrilled you play for the Colts.  Please accept my apology.

I was wrong.

Sincerely,

Nate Dunlevy

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