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Newsday: Collins can't pass on payback


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I hope if Collins has one great game left in him - this one should be the one.

To have the best receiver in the game on your team going against very average corners. What else QB can ask for. Go Kerry.


Collins can't pass on payback

Raiders QB still miffed about being spurned by Giants after they drafted Eli



December 27, 2005

What will Saturday night mean to Kerry Collins? What do you think?

"Certainly, I would like to try and exact some sort of revenge," he said yesterday.

The Giants are in the playoffs, but the NFC East title will be on the line in Oakland, so there still will be a prime time-worthy subplot that centers around their former quarterback.

In truth, they probably have little to fear from the Raiders, who at 4-11 mostly seem to be waiting for the season to end and a mass fumigation of the locker room to begin. But Collins' strong arm and even stronger motivation are a troubling X-factor for the team that spurned him.

Twenty months after the Giants pursued Eli Manning with a zeal that shocked Collins, he at last will have a chance to make them pay.

"Obviously, it holds a little more special meaning than any other game we've played this year for me," he said.

Collins' name is all over the Giants' passing records. He ranks third in career yardage (16,875), second in completions (1,447) and first in percentage (58.5).

After Tom Coughlin was hired in January 2004, though, it soon began to appear the new coach was not a big fan; he made no effort to reach out to his supposed field leader.

The Giants dealt for Manning on draft day, then gave Collins a chance to stay as his mentor. But Collins refused to adjust his contract to spread out his cap burden and effectively forced the team to cut him.

Has he spoken to Coughlin since? "I didn't even talk to him when I was there," he said.

Things have not gone well in Oakland. The Raiders were 5-11 in 2004; the additions of Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan have not helped.

Collins, who turns 33 Friday, has 17 touchdown passes, 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 75.5 - 0.4 better than Manning.

"I take my share of the blame," he said. "We've had injuries, penalties, a myriad of things . . . But as tough as it has been, I've prepared hard every week. I enjoy being out there."

It is not clear how much longer he will be out there for the Raiders, though. His 2006 cap number is more than $11 million, so he won't be back without a re-worked deal. That appears unlikely.

Collins said he would be open to staying - "I think the pieces are in place to become better," he said - but if he is released, there will be suitors, perhaps including the Jets.

"I have definitely heard those [Jets] rumors, too," he said, but he declined to discuss other options as long as he is a Raider.

Collins' low point was being benched in favor of Marques Tuiasosopo Dec. 11 against the Jets at Giants Stadium, the site of so many of his finest moments. "It was a part of my career where there was a rebirth; it was great to be a part of something really special," said Collins, who was reinstated as the starter after a 26-10 loss to the Jets in which Tuiasosopo was ineffective.

The day before the Jets game, Collins ran into several former teammates when the Raiders had a walk-through as the Giants boarded buses for Philadelphia. It was a reminder of the good old days, as was the death of co-owner Wellington Mara in October.

"He had a profound impact on me," Collins said. "He brought me in there when obviously I wasn't at a great point in my life and took a chance on me. I appreciate that."

Collins resists pondering what might have been if he had stayed. He said of Manning, "People try to give him a hard time, but my God, they're 10-5."

Collins would love to make it 10-6. "First and foremost, I want to win because I want to finish the season the right way," he said. "But it would be hard to deny the fact I want to beat them."

Black vs. Blue

Kerry Collins' five years with the Giants compared with his two as a Raider:

Team Att. Comp. Pct. Yds. TDs Int.

Giants (1999-2003) 1,447 2,473 58.5 16,875 81 70

Raiders (2004-'05) 565 1,030 54.9 6,923 38 32

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Collins is garbage but I hope he plays his heart out and the Raiders win. That would make me want the Skins to win so much more.[/Quote]

I don't get this statement. Your team has to win to make the playoffs whether the Giants win or not. How can anything make you want your team to win even more when you have to win to make the playoffs?

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