QB Kerry Collins, Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV punching bag, retires

A key figure in Ravens history retired from the NFL on Thursday: Titans quarterback Kerry Collins, whom the Ravens intercepted four times in their 34-7 victory over the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. After Collins completed just 15 of his 39 attempts for 112 yards -- for a passer rating of 7.1 -- on the sweetest Sunday in Ravens history, the strong-armed quarterback was asked by The Baltimore Sun whether he had ever seen a better defense.

"No, probably not," Collins said as the Ravens showered in champagne in the other locker room. "This is a good defense. They have good players and they're coached very well. … That's one of the things that jump out -- just how well-coached they are and well-disciplined they are. They play together very well. They completely took me out of my rhythm. Everything I tried to get going always seemed to end up in a bad stop."

Collins probably still has nightmares about that dominating performance by Ray Lewis and the 2000 Ravens defense, but he wasn’t the only quarterback to be flummoxed by one of the best defenses ever assembled.

The Penn State alum had a very respectable 16-season career -- winning a well-documented struggle with alcohol abuse, too -- and might have been a candidate to back up Joe Flacco this offseason in the event that Marc Bugler signed elsewhere. But Collins said Thursday that he couldn’t handle the daily grind anymore.

“The past several months have brought on much introspection, and I have decided that while my desire to compete on Sundays is still and always will be there, my willingness to commit to the preparation necessary to play another season has waned to a level that I feel is no longer adequate to meet the demands of the position," Collins, 38, said in a statement released by his agent.

Collins has a spot near and dear to my heart (like I said, he’s a Penn Stater). Ravens fans will always have fond memories of Collins, too. Ones Collins would probably one day like to forget.

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