Austin Collie has informed the B.C. Lions he
plans to retire.
The 30-year-old receiver spent his only CFL season with the club
in 2015, hauling in 43 receptions for 439 yards and seven
touchdowns. He also tallied a 21-yard passing touchdown to
quarterback Jonathan Jennings on a trick play in week 15 versus
--excerpt Mike Beamish - Vancouver Sun -
“I’ve done that a little bit before,” explained
Collie, who was an All-American wide receiver with the BYU
Cougars. “I threw one in college, but it got picked off. That
was my first touchdown throw in the pros.”
Indeed, he had attempted a variation of the same play three
times in his three-year college career, the first with John
Beck, the former Lion, as his quarterback when Collie was a
freshman receiver at BYU. It ended up being intercepted by
Utah’s Eric Weddle, now a five-time All-Pro free safety with the
San Diego Chargers.
As a sophomore and junior (he declared for the NFL draft
following his junior year), Collie also attempted passes that
failed to connect, though it was not for lack of skill. Coach
Bronco Mendenhall even had him practicing with the Cougars
quarterbacks, but he had much more success as a catcher than as
a pitcher. In 2008, Collie led the nation in reception yards
(1,538), per-game average (118.3) and had 11 straight games of
least 100 yards, tying him with Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech
as the best in the country.
“The funny thing is, in practice, he (Collie) was throwing
perfect balls (in rehearsing the pitch-reverse play) and I
dropped them every time,” Jennings said. “This time it just kind
of worked out.”
Collie was originally drafted by the Indianapolis
Colts in 2009, where he became a preferred target of star
quarterback Peyton Manning.
In five NFL seasons, the Brigham Young University
product registered 179 catches for 1,908 yards and 16 touchdowns
in 49 games, but also suffered a number of injuries, including
He had just seven catches in six games for the New England
Patriots in 2013 and sat out all of 2014 before giving the CFL a
try after teams south of the border stopped calling.
Collie — who grew up in California, but was born in Hamilton
while his father played for the Tiger-Cats — was an intriguing
prospect for the Canadian game.
He counted as a national player at a skill position, meaning
that an American could be plugged into another area of need on
the field of a ratio-driven league.
But the experiment never really worked, and B.C. struggled to a
7-11 record under one-and-done head coach Jeff Tedford.
Collie had 11 catches for 149 yards and a pair of TDs in his
first two games, but he couldn't establish himself as a threat
from there in an offence that sputtered most of the season.