Linebacker Andre Collins of the Washington Redskins, the first player selected by Charley Casserly in his first draft as general manager in 1990, was granted his request and released yesterday.
The departure of Collins, who became expendable when the Redskins signed free-agent linebacker Marvcus Patton on Feb. 22, left the Redskins with just three players from Casserly's first three drafts from 1990-1992 -- Brian Mitchell in 1990 and Bobby Wilson and Ricky Ervins in 1991. None of the players from Casserly's 1992 draft is still with the team.
The Redskins tried to trade Collins, who was due to make $1.5 million this year, but couldn't find any takers because teams knew he was going to be released. He faces a tough market because several teams have spent their free-agent money. "By releasing Andre at this time, it will enable him to have time to catch on with another team before the draft," Casserly said.
For Collins' agent, Tony Agnone, the timing wasn't that much of a plus.
"Unfortunately, it's close to the draft so we're going to have to scramble, but we're confident enough in Andre's ability that we think we can find him a good situation," Agnone said.
Collins was in San Diego attending the football camp sponsored by teammate Martin Bayless and will start his search when he visits the Rams and Raiders today. He was relieved to finally get his freedom.
"I'm happy I'll be able to relax and eat again and enjoy spring. It's been a tough month with all the uncertainty. I drove Tony crazy with all the phone calls," Collins said.
Even though Collins led the team in tackles last year with 170, defensive coordinator Ron Lynn said, "Andre did a lot of good things for us last year, but we're just saying we like this guy better than that guy for our defense."
Collins said he didn't know why he didn't fit in with the new regime.
"I can't put my finger on it, but you see the trend throughout the league that when a new coach comes in, he wants his own guys," he said.
The Redskins have just three starters left from ex-coach Joe Gibbs' '91 Super Bowl team -- Darrell Green, Jim Lachey and Tim Johnson.
Collins said he enjoyed his years with the Redskins and said he thinks they'll succeed under Turner.
"I don't doubt the Redskins will win again in the near future," he said.