Bears defensive tackle Nate Collins out for the season with a torn ACLContinue reading.
Bears defensive tackle Nate Collins returns to practice after torn ACL
Bears defensive tackle Nate Collins was in the process of having that breakout game during what was starting to look like a possible breakout season.
But a couple of tackles and the first solo sack of his career — which came against New Orleans Saints star Drew Brees, a big achievement — were followed by a tough break for any player’s career. His breakout game ended in the third quarter. His breakout season was cut short in Week 5.
Collins tore his left anterior cruciate ligament. On Tuesday, during organized team activities at Halas Hall, Collins returned to practice with his teammates for the first time since the injury.
“It felt good to get out there and run around with my brothers, man, and get in a few plays and actually get to do some reps against people and not bags and not moving targets,” Collins said while taking a brace off his left knee.
But Wednesday would be a better gauge for how he’s feeling.
“I’m about to do all my normal stuff, get in the cold tub and get in the NormaTec (recovery system),” Collins said. “Overall, I feel good, but we’re going to see how I feel when I wake up in the morning. That’s going to be a big test. But as of right now, my leg feels normal. It feels like I just finished a practice.”
The Bears have stock-piled defensive linemen this offseason, which included drafting defensive tackles Ego Ferguson (second round) and Will Sutton (third). With veteran Jeremiah Ratliff absent on Tuesday, Sutton worked with the first-team defense.
But Collins is excited by the new competition. He’s actually taking a team-first approach to it.
“It doesn’t’ change for me,” Collins said. “I’m going to work hard every day, but I’m going to try to get these guys up to speed. Competition does nothing but help a team out as a whole. They drafted two great guys. Ego and Will are doing great in there. We all just have to compete, and whatever happens by the end of camp happens. I know everyone is going to help the team win.”
The Bears would definitely like Collins, 26, to be part of “everyone.” He signed a one-year deal worth $730,001. The extra dollar is very important. It means it’s not a minimum deal, which allows the Bears to re-sign him before free agency opens if he does well and they have available resources under the salary cap.
“I felt like I was in the right spot [last season],” said Collins, who switched to No. 98, his number in college. “I felt I was doing what I needed to do. I felt like for most of the snaps that I was playing last year I was being effective in my spot. I just got to continue that this year coming up.”