It was jarring and somewhat shocking when the official announcement was made Monday about Jaguars offensive lineman Richard Collier’s condition.
Collier’s family, his doctors and his agent revealed that he had been shot 14 times on September 2nd in Riverside.
The shooting left Collier paralyzed below the waist and after suffering an infection and pneumonia doctors had to amputate his left leg to save his life.
It’s an unbelievably tragic life and while Collier is still alive, he’s only here because of his physical condition, a result of being a professional athlete.
There’s not much information being handed out by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office regarding the investigation. I suppose that means they have a lot of information but are trying to make sure they have a solid case. Maybe the gun is missing. Either way, Collier’s life is forever changed and hopefully he can find a productive venue for his energies.
He’s a vibrant smart guy and the Jaguars would do very well to hire him in some capacity. The disturbing thing is what it says about our culture. Obviously there was some kind of dispute and the shooter decided the best way to fix it was to get a gun and shoot Collier. Somebody knows who did this, and I don’t know if it’s the “anti-snitch” culture or the reward isn’t big enough but it’s wrong that whomever did this is still walking the streets.
There’s not enough of an outcry from the churches and community leaders in town regarding this shooting. Maybe it’s because it happens all too often and this time it just happened to be somebody we all know. But either way, fixing this “culture” should be one of our top priorities. Some of it is through education; some of it has to be through peer pressure.
David Kossak, a local businessman, called me the other night saying he was willing to double the reward money being offered. I had gotten a bunch of calls and emails from people disappointed that the Jaguars players hadn’t put up more money. Of the total, players apparently contribute about $277 each. Of course, that’s not enough, especially when the lowest salary on the roster is over $250,000.
Collier was perhaps the most popular player on the team. A free-agent signee from Valdosta State, he had pushed Khalif Barnes for the starting left tackle spot and observers thought that he might take the starting job eventually. He was the biggest guy on the team, and as part of our story on the makeup of the team, Collier shared a laugh with Sean Woodland after practice during training camp. Sean asked him about being big and Richard just said, “I’ve always been big, biggest guy on every team.”
“Dennis Northcutt is the smallest guy on the team,” Sean continued. “If you were really hungry do you think you could eat him?”
Collier followed right in the spirit of the story and had a laugh saying, “Maybe a leg.”
But all too common.