This could be Collins’ last day

Kerry Collins showed up for work as usual Monday morning, lifting weights at his assigned time and going through game tape of a 27-20 loss at Dallas.

It might have been his last day as a member of the Panthers.

The team has shopped its former No. 1 quarterback around the league in hopes of making a trade by 4 PM today, the NFL trade deadline. If a deal is not made -- and it’s hard to believe anything will happen -- the Panthers could waive him as early as this afternoon.

That decision will be made today by Coach Dom Capers and team owner Jerry Richardson with input from director or player personnel Jack Bushovsky and director of football administration Marty Hurney.

But the end appears near.

“I think Kerry’s experience here have been kind of like all of ours,” Capers said, summing up his Collins’ three-plus seasons as the team’s quarterback. “There’s been some very good times, and recently there’s been some tougher times. That’s kind of the nature of this business. You’ve got to be able to draw from both the good and the bad. If you’re in a bad mode, you have to get things turned back around to where it’s good again.”

That isn’t likely to happen for Collins, who told the Panthers last week his “heart wasn’t into it,” and essentially quit as the team’s No. 1 quarterback.

Capers, who placed Collins on the inactive list against Dallas and told him to stay in Charlotte, won’t rule out the possibility Collins could stay. But there doesn’t seem any reason to keep him around. Steve Beuerlein will be the quarterback for the rest of the season, and Collins would be a free agent at the end of the year, anyway.

If he is placed on waivers, teams have 24 hours to put in a claim in inverse order of the standings. Washington, at 0-6, would have the first crack. Should Collins clear waivers, a likely scenario since any team that claims him must pay the remainder of his $1.153 million contract for this season, he would become a free agent and would be able to negotiate with any team at any price.

It’s unknown if any team would be interested and if he does sign, he isn’t likely to earn a top figure. This comes after he reportedly turned down a $26 million contract from the Panthers a few weeks ago.

Asked about Collins, Beuerlein was diplomatic.

“We need to kind of disassociate ourselves from it and not get caught up in thinking about it one way of the other,” he said. “it’s something that’s out or our hands now. And if we’re not mature enough to accept that viewpoint, than we have to get to be that mature. Because it should not be an issue. We’re professionals. We’re paid to go out and play on Sundays and block out whatever factors need to be blocked out. This is one of those things we need to block out.”

If Collins is waived, the Panthers probably would look to sign a third-string quarterback behind Beuerlein and Shane Matthews. Tight end Wesley Walls is now the team’s emergency quarterback. Rookie Dameyune Craig, on the practice squad, might not be ready.
Tues. Oct. 13, 98