Kerry Collins – Former Carolina Panthers QB
- Drafted 5th overall in 1995 (Penn State)
- Played 45 games
- Waived 1998
Despite having the honor of being the first collegiate player drafted to the Carolina Panthers after the franchise was founded back in 1995, off-the-field issues blighted Kerry Collins’ career in Charlotte.
Outside of 1996 where he was selected to a pro bowl and led the Panthers to an NFC Championship bid his other years in Carolina were overshadowed by personal issues and turnover problems.
During his tenure in Carolina, Collins threw 54 interceptions in his four seasons as a Panther, including 21 in the 1997 season as the team finished 7-9 just a year removed from an NFC Championship appearance.
As mentioned previously, Collins’ career came with some issues away from the gridiron. His battles with alcoholism became public prior to the 1997 season, he was arrested for drunk driving in Charlotte in 1998, and prior to signing for the New York Giants in 1999, the quarterback sought treatment for his alcohol problems by entering rehab in Topeka, Kansas.
Unfortunately for Collins he is well known amongst Panthers fans for an incident on the last night of Panthers training camp in 1997. While drunk in a bar in Spartanburg, the signal-caller used a racial slur in reference to Muhsin Mohammed and towards Hispanic teammate Norberto Garrido.
Four weeks into the 1998 season and with the Panthers sitting at 0-4, Collins walked into head coach Dave Capers’ office and informed him that his heart was not in it and asked to be traded. He was instead waived and finished the season with the New Orleans Saints.
In credit to Collins, he turned his life and career around. After seeking alcohol treatment, he went on to play in the league until he retired in 2012 after a career spanning 16 years and six teams.
Collins also added a second Pro Bowl distinction in 2008 to go along with his 1996 selection.