Cris Collinsworth Had an All-American Quarterback Job Before He Moved to Wide Receiver

Longtime football announcer Cris Collinsworth is known for catching plenty of touchdowns with the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1980s.

Before he reached the NFL, Collinsworth also caught his fair share of touchdowns at the University of Florida. However, many football fans may not know that Collinsworth played quarterback before he moved to receiver.

Collinsworth proved to be pretty good under center. In fact, he earned All-American honors at quarterback during his prep career.

Cris Collinsworth has had a life around football

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Cris Collinsworth has lived numerous football lives, so to speak.

In the 1980s, Collinsworth was the reliable wideout that Ken Anderson — and later, Boomer Esiason — needed in the passing game. Collinsworth totaled 417 catches for 6,698 yards and 36 touchdowns in eight seasons with the Bengals.

Collinsworth made three Pro Bowls and earned first-team All-Pro honors in 1983. He also earned second-team All-Pro honors on three occasions from 1981-85.

For the past 30 years, Collinsworth has been an important NFL media figure. Currently on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, Collinsworth previously called NFL games at Fox and appeared on HBO’s Inside the NFL.

Collinsworth, who turns 62 in January, has teamed up with Al Michaels on Sunday Night Football since 2009. The duo is expected to continue together through February 2022 and Super Bowl 56. 

Michaels is expected to retire or leave NBC after that game. Mike Tirico would likely replace Michaels.

Collinsworth played quarterback in high school

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Cris Collinsworth intended to become a well-known quarterback, not a receiver.

Born in Ohio, Collinsworth and his family moved to Florida when he was young. Collinsworth starred at Astronaut High School in Titusville, Fla.

Along the way, Collinsworth earned All-American honors as a high school quarterback. The exact stats aren’t easily accessible because of when Collinsworth was in high school, but players do not earn such honors by being average.

Collinsworth also became the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 3A 100-yard-dash state champion in 1976.

Cris Collinsworth moved to receiver at Florida, and the rest is history

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When he signed with the University of Florida in the mid-1970s, Cris Collinsworth planned to star at quarterback.

The Gators signed Collinsworth for that reason but didn’t keep him there forever. Although he threw a 99-yard touchdown as a true freshman in 1977, Collinsworth moved to receiver in his sophomore year.

Over the next three years, Collinsworth hauled in 120 passes for 1,937 yards and 14 touchdowns. He earned first-team All-SEC honors each year and capped off his time in Gainesville with a first-team All-American campaign in 1980.

In further proof of how much the game has changed, Collinsworth earned those honors with a 40-catch, 599-yard, three-touchdown season.

Things worked out in Collinsworth’s favor, and he became one of the NFL’s more reliable receivers in the 1980s. With that said, the idea of Collinsworth sticking at quarterback is a fun what-if to ponder, especially if he played in today’s more favorable era of running quarterbacks.

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