'Lucky' Collins starting 50th game in a row

Kerry Collins will never replace Phil Simms in the hearts and minds of Giants fans, but Collins is about to match Simms in an impressive ironman streak. Collins on Sunday will start his 50th consecutive game, a feat matched only by Simms among Giants quarterbacks since 1980.

Collins has started every game and thrown every pass for the Giants since Nov. 28, 1999. He caused a brief scare yesterday when he quickly took off his red practice shirt following practice and stretched. He said he felt a slight back spasm, but it's nothing serious.

"I've been lucky," Collins said. "You never know what play it's going to be. I had pretty good protection around here, we got the kind of offense where we don't hold the ball long and that's helped too. I think my size helps, I mean I'm 240 pounds and I don't get real big hits a lot of the time."

Among active quarterbacks, Collins' 49 straight starts is fourth on the list, trailing only Brett Favre (168 games), Peyton Manning (75) and Rich Gannon (59). Last week in Houston, Collins threw a block on Tiki Barber's 70-yard run and also had an alarming moment after one handoff.

"Someone tripped me up and I couldn't brace myself and my facemask hit full force against the ground," Collins said. "I felt so stupid."
Nov. 28, 2002