Collins sent packing

The inevitable became a reality today when the Giants announced they have released quarterback Kerry Collins. <BR><BR>

The team's starting quarterback since 1999, Collins rejected the Giants' overtures this week to restructure his contract. The Giants asked Collins to rework his contract after Saturday's trade for quarterback Eli Manning, the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Because Collins was due to make $7 million in 2004, the restructuring was necessary for the Giants to fit both Collins and Manning under the salary cap.

"Kerry Collins played his heart out for the Giants and took us to the Super Bowl," GM Ernie Accorsi said. "His performance in the NFC Championship Game against Minnesota was one of the greatest in the history of this franchise. For that, all of us are grateful to him. More importantly, we are grateful for the class in which he conducted himself. Unfortunately, the economics of the system we work in today determine these most difficult decisions. For me, I felt a personal identification with Kerry, and I will miss him."

Although he played just 71 games for the Giants, including 68 starts, Collins will be remembered as one of the most successful and productive quarterbacks in the franchise's 80-year history. He led the Giants to the 2000 NFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XXXV and a 2002 NFC Wild Card Playoff berth.

Collins is second on the team's career list with 1,447 completions, trailing only Phil Simms. He is third in pass attempts (2,473) and passing yards (16,875), behind only Simms and Charlie Conerly in both categories. Collins' 81 touchdown passes place him fifth on the Giants' career list.

Collins is expected to land either in Oakland or Denver, where he can compete for the starting spot.

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