Packers release S Collins after neck injury

Unable to clear him to play again following a neck injury last season, the Green Bay Packers released former Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson made the announcement Wednesday, calling it a difficult decision to cut a player seen as part of the family.

Collins injured his neck in the second game of the season and was placed on injured reserve.

"From the beginning of this process, we have taken our time and sought numerous medical opinions while maintaining consistent dialogue with Nick," Thompson said in a statement. "In the end, we were not comfortable clearing him to play again. As with all of our players, Nick is a member of our family and we thought of him that way as we came to this conclusion.

"Nick is a part of our core, and this is a very difficult day for all Packers. Making this kind of decision is never easy, especially when it involves someone like Nick Collins. He has meant so much to the community, his teammates and the organization. He is a good man and will always be part of the Packers family."

Collins, 28, has played all seven of his NFL seasons for the Packers since they took him in the second round of the 2005 draft, racking up 417 tackles and 21 interceptions, including four he returned for touchdowns.

In 2008, he set a Packers record with 295 interception return yards and became the first NFL safety since 1986 to return three picks for touchdowns in one season.

Collins had a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown in Green Bay's Super Bowl XLV win over Pittsburgh.