LINCOLN, NEB. Nebraska running back Thunder Collins has quit the team so he can get a job to replace his lost scholarship money and take care of his younger brother.
Collins' father and a cousin both were shot and killed when Collins was growing up in Los Angeles, and he said he didn't want to send his 17-year-old brother back there.
"I didn't just want to throw him off on somebody else," Collins told Omaha, Neb., radio station KOZN on Thursday.
Collins said his decision was prompted by a cut in his monthly scholarship payments from $404 to $199 that occurred after he was suspended four games for violating unspecified NCAA rules.
"I just have to take a break from football right now to get things straight," Collins said.
Collins missed three straight practices following the Cornhuskers' victory over Missouri. On Wednesday night, he issued a statement to the Lincoln Journal Star and Lincoln television station KLKN saying he'd quit the team to take care of his brother, who had moved from Los Angeles to Lincoln to live with him.
In addition to getting a job, Collins said, he will keep training in hopes of getting a shot with an NFL team.
"I know it's going to be twice as hard, because I'm walking away from football for a brief moment," he said. "But I believe I'm a strong individual and I can get it done."
Collins, who entered the season listed as the co-starting I-back with Dahrran Diedrick, was third on the team in rushing last year with 647 yards on 94 carries. He has 14 carries for 39 yards this season.
After serving the suspension, Collins dropped to the third team because true freshman David Horne emerged as the top backup to Diedrick.
"I didn't feel I was contributing to the team, so I had to go and find a way to take care of my family," Collins said.
Coach Frank Solich declined to comment Thursday.
"Thunder is a guy who is doing what he thinks he needs to do, and should do," Solich said. "I've got no problems with that."