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Giants will release Kerry Collins


I give up. This board is too hard to understand.
Do they really think Eli can come in and win right away?

Eli in hand, Giants will release Collins

The Associated Press
Updated: 4:18 p.m. ET April 26, 2004
NEW YORK - With Eli Manning in town, Kerry Collins is ready to leave.

Collins, who took the New York Giants to the 2001 Super Bowl, said his goodbyes Monday after five years with the team. While the quarterback wasn’t officially released, Collins and the Giants said that would almost surely happen in the next few days.

On Saturday, the Giants traded North Carolina State quarterback Philip Rivers and three draft choices to the San Diego Chargers for Manning, the No. 1 overall pick.

Manning’s salary makes it almost impossible for the team to have cap room for two highly paid QBs. Collins, 31, will earn $7 million next season but will cost $8.95 million against the 80.6 million salary cap.

“I figured there was no reason to hang around,” Collins said after turning down a request by Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi to restructure his salary.

Accorsi said there were two reasons the Giants had yet to make the release official. He hadn’t discussed it with new coach Tom Coughlin and the team’s owners, and there was always the possibility another team would seek to trade for Collins. But he conceded making a deal was remote because of Collins’ high salary.

Accorsi also denied he suggested the quarterback take a pay cut, as Collins asserted.

“He may have misunderstood,” Accorsi said, adding that the restructuring would have involved turning some of the salary into a signing bonus and adding “voidable years” that Collins would almost surely opt out of.

Collins said he also has the impression Coughlin seemed ready to start Manning almost immediately.

“Ernie told me that he felt Eli was one of the three or four best college quarterbacks he’s seen in the last 20 years,” Collins said. “Someone like Elway or Marino. Someone like that.”

Collins was the first draft pick ever of the Carolina Panthers in 1995 and quarterbacked them to the NFC championship game in their second season in the league.

But two years later, plagued by problems with alcohol, he walked into the office of coach Dom Capers and said he had to quit. The Panthers released him and he was picked up for the rest of the season by New Orleans.

At Accorsi’s urging, the Giants signed Collins in 1999, and they helped rehabilitate his life and career. He started seven games that season. The next, Collins led them to the NFC championship, throwing for 381 yards and five touchdowns in a 41-0 win over Minnesota in the conference title game.

In the Super Bowl two weeks later, he was 15-of-39 for 112 yards with four interceptions in a 34-7 loss to Baltimore. That contrast typifies Collins — he is among the best in the game when protected, but limited by a lack of mobility and vulnerable to pressure.

Still, he started 67 straight games before spraining his ankle last season, when the Giants’ horrible offensive line was the main factor in their 4-12 finish.

That finish put them in position to have a shot at Manning because it gave them the fourth overall pick in the draft. That position allowed them to put together a package to get the latest member of football’s first family of quarterbacks. Manning had been taken first by San Diego, a team for which he had said he would not play.

“I feel it personally because I invested a lot in bringing Kerry here,” Accorsi said. “But that’s football. It’s a business and ultimately you have to make decisions that can be painful.”

Collins said he realized being released this late would make it difficult for him to land a starting job elsewhere.

“Most teams have their quarterbacks in place by this time,” he said.

One possibility could be Baltimore where Jim Fassel, the Giants coach during Collins’ tenure in New York, is a consultant working with quarterbacks. Second-year man Kyle Boller has been designated as the Ravens’ starter, but there is no one on the roster with anything close to Collins’ starting experience.