Jags’ Collier shot, has life-threatening injuries
Associated Press Writers
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ” Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Richard Collier was shot and critically wounded outside an apartment building early Tuesday as he and a former Jacksonville teammate waited for two women they had met at a nightclub, police said.
Collier, 26, and former Jaguars defensive end Kenneth Pettway were waiting in a Cadillac Escalade when a gunman fired into the vehicle, said Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ken Jefferson. Collier was shot several times, but it wasn’t clear where he was hit.
Collier was in critical condition at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, a nursing supervisor said early Tuesday. Later, spokesman Chris Turner said the hospital was no longer giving updates on Collier’s condition. There are a variety of reasons that can happen, such as a request by relatives.
Several Jaguars, including running back Maurice Jones-Drew, offensive tackle Khalif Barnes and linebackers Mike Peterson and Clint Ingram gathered at the hospital. Others convened at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, all of them concerned about their teammate and friend.
“The guys are in shock,” Pro Bowl running back Fred Taylor said. “You see this kind of thing happen all the time on TV, but you never expect it in your own back yard. He’s a good dude. I just pray for him and his family and wish the best for them. I’m sure he’ll pull through.”
Team owner Wayne Weaver said in a statement he was shocked and “deeply saddened by this morning’s news about Richard Collier. We have been informed that Richard has had surgery and he’s in critical but stable condition. The entire Jaguars family is praying for Richard and his family at this time.”
The motive behind the attack was unknown, and the sheriff’s office was investigating. Pettway, who was released in final cuts Saturday, was not injured.
The shooting happened around 2:45 a.m. in a middle- to upper middle-class neighborhood just west of downtown Jacksonville and blocks from the St. Johns River. The players had gone to the apartment complex so the women could drop off their car, authorities said.
The women, who appeared to be in their 20s, declined comment when they were escorted by police back to the complex midmorning Tuesday. One was wearing a short, silver dress and the other was wearing a short, black one.
Collier is the third NFL player to be shot in the past 18 months. Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor was fatally shot during what police said was a botched burglary attempt at his Miami-area home in November. Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was killed when his rented limousine was sprayed with bullets minutes after leaving a New Year’s party at a club in 2007.
Entering his third year after making the team as an undrafted rookie free agent, Collier competed for the starting job at left tackle but was beaten out by Khalif Barnes in the preseason.
Still, the Jaguars believe Collier could be a future starter. They signed him to a contract extension earlier this year despite an arrest last season.
The 6-foot-7, 345-pound linemen was arrested Nov. 3 after officers found him asleep behind the wheel at a McDonald’s drive-thru window. Collier failed field sobriety tests and had a blood-alcohol level of .096, according to police. In Florida, it is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher.
Collier was suspended two games and fined by coach Jack Del Rio.
Collier’s attorney disputed the police report and recommended that his client go to trial, but Collier didn’t want the team to have to deal with the negative attention it would have generated. So he pleaded no contest and accepted six months of probation and a suspension of his driver’s license. He publicly vowed to stay out of trouble.
Coming out of high school in Shreveport, La., Collier didn’t have the grades or test scores to attend most colleges, so he stayed home with his mother and got a job in the produce department at Wal-Mart.
He worked there for two years before deciding to give football another chance. He enrolled at Tyler Junior College in Texas, about 90 miles west of Shreveport. He showed up weighing 390 pounds, having not lifted a weight since high school.
Collier quickly got his grades ” and body ” in shape and worked his way into the starting lineup. He transferred to Valdosta State in 2004 and helped the Blazers win the Division II national championship that season. He earned All-America honors as a senior in 2005, yet still failed to impress many NFL scouts.
The Jaguars were the only team to bring Collier in for a workout before the draft, so signing with Jacksonville as an undrafted rookie was an easy decision. His only other choice, he thought, was to go back to the produce section.
“It took me to lose everything to recognize how much I had,” Collier said during his rookie season. “It was a blessing, really. I found out how it would be if I didn’t work hard and apply myself.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User