Nick Collins

The dream is dead. Long live the dream. Former Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins, who hasn’t played since 2011, officially retired via Twitter on Tuesday night.

For all intents and purposes, Collins was already retired. He just didn’t want to believe it. The neck injury he suffered in September of 2011 took care of that.

Collins missed the remainder of that season after having cervical fusion surgery. The Packers released him the following April, after determining it was too risky for Collins to continue his career.

On more than one occasion after being released by the Packers, Collins tried to drum up interest in his services, hoping some NFL team would give him a chance to make a comeback.

No one did.

It appears he’s come to the realization that no one will, either.

It’s an unfortunate situation to say the least. At 31, Collins would be in the prime of his career right now.

In seven NFL seasons (or six and two games, if you prefer), Collins was a three-time Pro Bowler. Had he stayed healthy and continued his stellar play, we might be debating whether Collins would one day be a Hall of Famer.

One awkward knee to the head by a guy no one will remember (Jonathan Stewart) robbed him of what should have been a long and productive career.

We’ll always love you anyway, Nick.