In what can only be chalked up as harmonic convergence, Collins and devout WSU booster Glenn Osterhout were both on hand at the CougsFirst! Show in Seattle last week -- Collins in his new role as an associate with the wealth management firm Brighton Jones and Osterhout as chairman and co-founder of CougsFirst!
Sadly, the two never connected amid the throng of more than 1,500 Cougs who attended the event at the Convention Center, but via a foiled -- and downright bizarre -- burglary three weeks earlier, the two are now forever connected.
Osterhout, you see, arrived home from work one evening and discovered something unexpected in the middle of his living room floor: a pair of cowboy boots.
Alas, he doesn't own any cowboy boots.
Moments after uttering "What the hell?" to himself, he heard a noise in a room down the hall.
"This is where I should have called the police, but I walk down the hall and grab the door knob to hold the intruder in the room," Osterhout recounts.
After a series of questions to the unwanted visitor, Osterhout let the burglar out of the room with hands held high. As the door opens, Osterhout discovers the burglar is wearing Osterhout's beloved Jed Collins jersey.
Not a Jed Collins-with-the-Saints jersey or a Jed Collins-with-the-Lions jersey. No sir. We're talking genuine crimson: a Jed Collins Cougar jersey, circa 2007.
So just to be clear on the facts up to this point...
A guy breaks into a house, takes off his shoes, pulls on a Jed Collins jersey, and then begins ransacking the place.
Now you know why Collins (pictured above and at top below) was incredulous when the story was shared with him.
"Old No. 41 -- it was a gift from Justin Felker when he was a fundraiser with Cougar Athletics. Jed was my favorite player because he could play damn near every position on the field," Osterhout explains.
After coming out of the room, the burglar "dutifully walks outside -- in his stocking feet, no less, because his boots are still in the living room," Osterhout notes. "As he steps onto the walkway, I realize we have unfinished business. 'Stop!' I holler.
"I don't care if a guy's armed and dangerous, nobody gets my Jed Collins jersey. Well, he stops and very deliberately takes off the jersey and lays it down on the walk."
Osterhout (pictured below bottom) then called the police and the man was arrested -- but not until he tried to get into Osterhout's car parked in the driveway. "Who knows, maybe he was looking for my Cougar helmet with the Clyde Wareheim and Tom Poe autographs on it," Osterhout quips.
"It was obvious he was impaired, but I have to give him credit for having the presence of mind to put on a Jed Collins Cougar jersey when the opportunity presented itself."
Informed the day after the CougsFirst! event that Jed Collins himself had been in attendance and had been told the tale of the would-be jersey theft, Osterhout laughed.
"First my house gets ransacked and now I miss my chance to chat up Jed. That's just not right."
By the way, Osterhout has since installed an upgraded security system in his house, availing himself of the expertise of Cougar-owned Allied Fire and Security.
And on a cautionary note, Osterhout warns that for people who keep a spare key hidden on their property, be careful. That's how the burglar made his way in the house.
"Every rock in the yard had been turned over, the barbecue lid was off, the shed was gone through, planters moved, you name it, he went over every inch trying to find a key. You can bet I won't make that mistake again," said Osterhout.