Kerry Collins will be inducted to College Football Hall of Fame tomorrow, discusses career and rumored Lebanon fight with Patriot’s David Jones

3 min read Posted December 3, 2018

Kerry Collins will be inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame tomorrow night during a ceremony in New York City at the New York Hilton Midtown.

The event will be televised on ESPN3 beginning at 8:30pm.

In lead up to the induction, Collins spoke to the Patriot-News’ David Jones about his college and professional careers, as well as one of his big regrets in life.

The regret stems from a 2009 incident with Joe Paterno where he recalled Collins’ season-spoiling broken finger leading into the 1992 season. As Joe was quoted in that press

The only thing I really remember of Kerry Collins is he had a super spring, great Blue-White game and came back to preseason practice with a broken hand. He said he got it in a volleyball game. I said, “Yeah, and I’m Knute Rockne.

Collins told Jones the incident still bothers him to this day. The rumor, according to the article, was that the fractured index finger came from “some nighttime Lebanon scuffle.”

It pains me to know that Joe went to his grave not believing me. I guess no one ever did.

Kerry Collins to David Jones

Collins’ relationship with Lebanon is a complicated one. He left Lebanon High School in 1987 after a stressful start to the season that disturbed Kerry’s father, Pat, an assistant coach at Lebanon. The decision came to a head following a contentious decision by head coach Hal Donley to call a quarterback keeper play during a full-contact scrimmage, which resulted in Collins’ left ankle being broken in two places. As a 1999 New York Times article states, “It was a showdown between longtime coaches and onetime friends that people in Lebanon say had been building for years.”

Kerry and his dad moved to an apartment in West Lawn to enable Kerry to attend Wilson High School. His mom would remain in Lebanon with Kerry’s brother, Patrick. The couple would divorce a couple years later. In the Times article, Kerry is quoted as saying that the message he received was, “‘It was worth it to break up the family to become a top-notch athlete. Kerry the quarterback mattered more than Kerry the person.”

Kerry and his dad moved to an apartment in West Lawn to enable Kerry to attend Wilson High School. His mom would remain in Lebanon with Kerry’s brother, Patrick. The couple would divorce a couple years later. In the Times article, Kerry is quoted as saying that the message he received was, “‘It was worth it to break up the family to become a top-notch athlete. Kerry the quarterback mattered more than Kerry the person.”

In an interview with Sally Jenkins for ESPN The Magazine, Collins framed the move as an attempt to get him out of the hard-drinking steel town culture of Lebanon.

Where I come from, it’s pretty much the norm You worked in the steel mills or coal mines, and you went to the bar right afterward and knocked back the soot with shots.

Kerry Collins

Collins threw 2,043 yards and 17 touchdowns as a Wilson senior and was named to the AP’s all-state team. Jeff Falk at Lebanon Sports Buzz shares this story of the climatic matchup between Collins’ Wilson and the Lebanon team in the mid-season of his senior year:

And so it was in his senior season that Collins led the Bulldogs into Lebanon Alumni Stadium for a mid-season showdown with his former Cedars. Both teams were undefeated and riding high, and your’s truly wrote something to the effect that it would be ironic if somehow the Cedars could come up with a way to upset the mighty Bulldogs.

But it wasn’t meant to be for Lebanon High that night. Collins enjoyed one of his best evenings as a high school player, threw the ball all over the field against the out-manned Cedars and Wilson won in a rout.

Collins went on to play for Penn State where, as Onward State notes, he ended up fourth in the Heisman vote for his incredible 1994 season in which he lead one of the school’s most prolific offenses ever.

As Falk asks in his article, is Kerry Collins from Lebanon? Or is he the man with no hometown? I have a feeling Lebanon is ready to accept him whenever he chooses.

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