Jags Dealing With News About Collier

Perhaps its too early to be asking these questions, but here goes.
How will the Jaguars deal with the new of Richard Collier’s paralysis and amputation?

Will it affect what they do on the field? Will they use Collier as a rallying point or will they be emotionally drained?

Those are questions that Jack Del Rio wouldn’t–maybe couldn’t–answer on Monday.

“We’ll worry about the team later,” Del Rio said. “Right now we’re most concerned about Rich and his family.”

Some of Collier’s teammates were equally stunned.

“Rich has overcome a lot,” Khalif Barnes said. “He’s very determined. He’s in the first [steps] now, but I know he’s going to come through this.”

Barnes and right tackle Tony Pashos both told me that they were trying to find the silver lining in all of this, that Collier has survived.

“It’s a blow to hear about it. It’s hard to swallow,” Pashos said. “I’m happy that he’s alive and that I’ve shared so many good memories with him and that I’ll be able to share more in the future.”

Football players are creatures of habit. The routine of the week is a comfort to most, a necessity to some. As the Jaguars prepare for the Steelers on Sunday night, they will not have the luxury of experiencing a “normal” week. How they handle it will be up to each individual, but Del Rio and the veteran leaders will have to bring the team together to feed off of the emotion of the situation, rather than allowing the situation to drain them emotionally.

But football, right now, is secondary. For now, football takes a back seat to a teammate whose life has changes so dramatically, that his world will never be the same again.

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