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Push Past Your Excuses

Jan. 1, 1970

Dear Fellow Former Players & Friends,

While waiting on the 41 bus in Arlington the other night, I watched a stronger, younger guy run past. My first thought was look at him glide, free of injury and free of pain. I was convinced he was running with such ease because his body never experienced the trauma playing a contact sport at the highest level. I can be cruel sometimes and that probably wasn’t a fair statement.

But running was too easy for him. And I just haven’t felt like that in some time. Forget about the fact that I had on dress shoes, my competitive juices were still flowing. I’m a linebacker. Instinct said chase him. Kind of like how a dog just instinctively chases a mailman, I’m forever chasing a ball carrier.

My mind says I can, but my left ankle sincerely knows better. There was no chance. That young guy was running like Randy Moss going in for another score!

I’m like an old crotchety man. Everything irritates me and I’m cranky — my wife’s too slow at the grocery store, the car in front isn’t pulling off fast enough at a green light — it seems like everyone is just aimlessly wandering around.

But I know I’m better than that. Just because I can’t keep up and things irritate me doesn’t mean I should give up pressing for a quality of life that is supreme. I’m reminded that we must press for a life that is about fitness and health through exercise and emotional well-being.

I can train in a different way. I can still jog, walk, do some weight training and yoga. I can exercise my mind by reading, meditating, mindfulness training and praying; praying might take care of my irritableness. Always going forward without the pressure of ‘making a play’ but with rewarding lifestyle changes that promote the best version of me.

I will focus on getting my ankle better. My aches and pains can’t be an excuse. I can’t retire to that comfortable chair and remote control. Right now, I can’t forget about me! So many things in my life are too important to quit on having a fit mind and body.

The opportunities are abundant, and out there for the taking.  Forget your excuses, it’s time for us to take action.

Andre Collins


Executive Director
Professional Athletes Foundation
NFL Player 1990-1999

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

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