Austin Collie has had a rough year.
After concussions shortened his time in Indianapolis, Collie tried to make San Francisco’s roster but was released at the end of training camp. He was picked up by the New England Patriots Oct. 3 and released Nov. 5 when he injured his knee. He resigned with the Pats a second time Dec. 5 and was released again Dec. 27.
When New England receiver Aaron Dobson went down with a foot injury, Collie, who served an LDS mission in Argentina, was resigned a third time in January. In seven games with the Pats he has caught six passes for 63 yards. He will be in uniform when New England hosts his old team — Indianapolis — this weekend. He plans to soak up the experience.
“It is awesome,” Collie told the Boston Herald. “Anyway I can help this team win, that’s what I’m here for.”
“You sometimes take (the game) for granted,” Collie continued. “When you don’t have that opportunity and you kind of step away, you definitely realize just how fun it is and how much you love it from home.”
Collie told TheStarPress.com how grateful he is to be still be playing.
“It’s the NFL,” Collie told writer Phillip B. Wilson. “Thankfully, I’ve been given another opportunity and I couldn’t think of a better spot.”
Blog.masslive.com reports that with Dobson out, Collie could be the fourth receiver behind Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins.
There are other Mormons on NFL playoff rosters.
An article by Eric D. Williams on ESPN.com tells the story of Weddle’s beard and mohawk hairstyle. It also conveys that Weddle has been the glue of the Chargers’ defense this year.
“We’ve been the underdog all year,” Weddle told Williams. “I’ve been the underdog my whole life. It’s no different. We’re out to continue to believe in ourselves. The great thing about this team is the struggles, and the ups and downs have really molded us into what we are right now, which is a confident belief in one another.”
San Diego’s all-pro free safety, a convert to the church, was also mic’d up in the Chargers playoff win over Cincinnati, courtesy of Chargers.com.
Here are some notes about Mormons who didn’t make the playoffs.
Dennis Pitta, a returned Mormon missionary and former BYU star, returned from a hip injury to play in the final four games of the regular season and snag 20 catches for 169 yards and one touchdown. Prior to playing against New England at the end of the year, Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick told the Baltimore Sun that Pitta was an impressive player.
“Excellent player, does a really good job,” Belichick said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. “A key guy in the offense that Joe [Flacco] has a lot of confidence in and goes to him in critical situations — third down, red area, end of the game and two-minute-type of situations. He’s a go-to guy and a guy that has had a serious injury, but looks like he’s come back from it well and worked hard in rehab. He’s made good contributions for them since he’s been back. An impressive player.”
Baltimore Sun writer Aaron Wilson has also written that the Ravens may designate Pitta as their franchise player to avoid him becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Mark Asper wasn’t on Buffalo’s 53-man roster at the beginning of the 2013 season, but Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone believes he has a future with the franchise. Asper, a 6-foot-7, 325-pound guard, served and LDS mission in Spain and played his college ball at Oregon. Asper was promoted to the active roster in mid-October, according to BuffaloBills.com.
Even though the Miami Dolphins barely missed the playoffs this year, it was another solid year for the longtime Miami long-snapper from BYU John Denney. Denney talks about the Dolphins’ disappointing finish in an interview with Andy Kent of Dolphins.com.
“You’re only as good as your last game and our last game wasn’t very good,” Denney told Kent. “And to end a season on that note, it hurts because there’s no getting it back right away. There’s no redeeming, getting together and putting it together that next week for a new game. The season’s over, we had our chances and we’ve got a whole offseason to think about that. Hopefully we can use that to drive us to work harder.”