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Former safety Nick Collins announces retirement

Weston Hodkiewicz
USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins (36) is all smiles as he returns a fumble for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in 2010.

Former Packers safety Nick Collins announced his retirement from the NFL Tuesday evening through Twitter.

"I'm officially announced my retirement from the #NFL. I also would like to thank my family, friends, and the Packer Nation for the love and support," Collins wrote.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Collins' career came to an abrupt end in 2011 when he suffered a significant neck injury following a collision with Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart on Sept. 18, 2011.

Collins, who turned 31 years old Saturday, underwent a cervical fusion of his C-3 and C-4 vertebrae, but the Packers released him in April 2012 when team doctors didn't feel comfortable clearing him for a return to the field.

Despite not playing for two years, Collins had continued to express his desire to keep playing, but apparently met the realization his career is over.

In his seven seasons, Collins had 417 tackles (77 for a loss), 63 pass deflections and 21 interceptions.

Green Bay Packers' Nick Collins celebrates his game-ending interception that sent the Packers to the playoffs in 2011.