The New England Patriots have signed the former Indianapolis Colt, Austin Collie, today. The news was first broken as an expectation via a tweet from Jason La Canfora, and has since been confirmed by ESPN.
The Pats expect to sign WR Austin Collie today, who has worked his way back from multiple concussions. Collie was in 49ers camp this summer
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 3, 2013
It has been no secret that the Patriots offense has been a work in progress this season, and many speculated that the team would sign Collie before the start of the season. With the injury to Aaron Dobson last week and Gronkowski’s still uncertain timetable, perhaps the Patriots thought it best to add another weapon for Tom Brady to work with. Collie used to be a target of Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and proved he can be a play-maker if healthy. In his first season as a Colt, 2009, Collie had 60 receptions worth 676 yards and 7 TDs. In 2010, Collie suffered a severe concussion in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, which caused him to lay motionless on the field for 10 minutes until he was carted off on a stretcher. He tried to return two weeks later in a game against the Patriots, but had to leave at halftime citing concussion symptoms. He sat out another month of football and sustained his second concussion upon his return in a game against the Jaguars. His third concussion came in the preseason of 2012, after an injury-free 2011 where he caught 54 passes for 514 and a TD.
Collie may not contribute much for the Patriots, but he certainly has the potential. He can only make the offense better and with the tough schedule ahead, Tom Brady can use all of the veteran weapons at his disposal. Even if Collie is only able to play a few games, he could help mentor the rookie receivers in that time. This is an interesting move by the injury-plagued Patriots, perhaps just to provide insurance should Julian Edelman suffer another injury or Danny Amendola’s return time gets pushed back significantly.