This Sunday a feature segment of former Valdosta State player and Jaguars offensive lineman Richard Collier will air on ESPN on Outside the Lines (9 a.m.) and Sunday NFL Countdown (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.). I’ve provided a few advance quotes from the piece that you can use. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or would like more information.
Three months ago Richard Collier’s life changed forever as a gunman shot him repeatedly, inflicting 14 wounds that threatened his survival and left him paralyzed below the waist. Until then, Jacksonville’s 6-foot-7, 350-pound offensive lineman was probably best known for his unusual path to the NFL. Known among friends as “Big Rich,” Collier had worked for two years after high school in a Wal-mart produce section, then attended Tyler Junior College and Division II Valdosta State before catching on with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent. In his first TV interview since the shooting, the 27-year-old Collier shares with Outside the Lines correspondent Kelly Naqi the emotions of regaining consciousness more than two weeks after surgery to find out his left leg had been amputated and he is confined to a wheelchair. Outside the Lines also features the first public images of Collier’s rehabilitation as he attempts to defy his doctors’ predictions and regain the ability to walk.
On whether his actions in any way contributed to him being shot …
“I didn’t deserve it. I’m not gonna pity myself. I’ll deal with it but I feel like I’ve done nothing to contribute to this.”
On emotions in days after finding out his leg had been amputated …
“That’s the most I’ve cried my whole life. Every day. Anything would just trigger tears. Watching football on TV, anything. That was my lowest point.”
On doctors saying he will remain paralyzed …
“I say it took a miracle to survive 14 shots, you know. It took a miracle for me to go to an NFL team, it’s a miracle for me to be alive right now, so I don’t listen to all that. I have faith in God, he’ll pull me through.”
“I feel like if I say that word (paralyzed) , I’ve kind of given up. I have faith in God that I’ll walk again. So I’m very optimistic about that. I’ve gotten stronger and stronger everyday and my mind just won’t let me, I can’t give up like that. I have like a “never say die” type attitude, and I just can’t.”
What he reflects on while spending time at a favorite spot, a nearby pond …
“I like to watch people walk, It’s kind of strange, but it’s really big for me. Like, MAN, it was taken away from me, a lot of little things that I just never paid attention to, I do now.”
On his physical health and exercises he works on …
“It’s a lot of stuff to just get me to transition to be in a wheelchair and be able to move around without my lower half, so it’s a lot of arm exercises, all kinds of things with my arms, gotta push off and hold it, stuff like that.”
“I feel like I get stronger and stronger all the time, so I don’t feel like it’s overbearing or boring. I know it’s necessary, so I come in and work hard, just like I would if I was still playing for the Jags.”
“It’s much more difficult moving my whole body with just my arms, that’s real hard. I still have problems with it, so l have to like scoot and everything and push up, to move from the chair to here or the mat. It’s real hard, because I’m not a light guy. Even though I lost some weight, I’m still pretty heavy so I hate that. But I like lifting arms, I like doing bench-pressing, curls, it kind of makes me feel like I’m back in the weight room with the guys.”
“I’m getting stronger though. I get stronger everyday, mentally & physically, spiritually also. I’m just working hard, I always have and always will.”
The link below is the short clip that is currently running on SportsCenter.
Video link at ESPN……