Game vs Giants Has Special Meaning to Collins

For the Raiders, Saturday's game against the New York Giants means little more than a final hurdle to leap over before heading into the offseason. For quarterback Kerry Collins, however, it means a chance to salvage some pride at the hands of the team he once took to the Super Bowl.

Collins started 67 consecutive games for the Giants from 1999-2003 before signing with Oakland as a free agent prior to the 2004 season. In those five seasons with the Giants, Collins moved into third place on the team's all-time passing yardage list and set team single-season records for pass attempts, completions and yardage.

In 2000 Collins led New York to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXV. Four years later he found himself on the outs with the Giants after they used the first overall pick in the '04 draft to select quarterback Eli Manning.

Thus the chance for redemption this week for Collins, who still carries a slight chip on his shoulder for the way his career in New York ended.

''Obviously this game holds special meaning for me,'' Collins said Tuesday. ''I had five good years there and I'm very appreciative of everything they did for me when I was there. At the same time it was tough the way it ended and there's certainly a little bit more emotion involved in this game for me than any other game.''

Ironically, the game against his former team might also represent Collins' final appearance in a Raider uniform. A disappointing year -- Collins has passed for 3,428 yards but has 12 interceptions and just a 75.5 quarterback rating -- coupled with a huge jump in his salary next season could force Oakland to release the veteran quarterback.

Collins and Raiders coach Norv Turner are both on the hot seat. The Raiders have won just nine games under Turner and only seven with Collins as the starting quarterback.

''First and foremost we want to win the ballgame for our own reasons,'' Collins said. ''It's been a tough year and we want to finish it the right way. Other than that it really doesn't bring much to the game for me. It's about the Oakland Raiders and trying to win a ballgame. Whatever happens outside of that happens, and that's it.''

Still, Collins acknowledged being upset after learning the Giants were going with Manning as a rookie quarterback rather than himself.

''I don't think it took me by surprise,'' Collins said. ''What bugged me is that they decided that someone would be better at the position than me. I didn't feel that way at the time but it's water under the bridge. There's nothing I can do about it now. I felt like I was still the best guy for the job. When you feel that way and they decide to do something else, it's hard not to have bad feelings about it.''

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