JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35, Orlando) -- Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Richard Collier was shot while waiting for some women outside an apartment early Tuesday and sustained life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
Collier, 26, and former Jaguars player Kenneth Pettway were waiting in a car when a gunman shot into the vehicle, said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman Ken Jefferson. Collier was shot several times but it's not clear where he was hit.
Collier was in critical condition at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, a hospital official said. The motive behind the attack was unclear, and the sheriff's office was investigating.
The shooting happened around 2:45 a.m. in a middle- to upper middle-class neighborhood just west of downtown Jacksonville and blocks from the St. Johns River.
Collier is the third NFL player to be shot in the past 18 months. Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor was fatally shot during what police said was a botched burglary attempt at his Miami-area home in November. Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was killed when his rented limousine was sprayed with bullets minutes after leaving a New Year's party at a downtown Denver club in 2007.
During training camp, the third-year lineman competed for the starting job at left tackle but was beat out by Khalif Barnes.
Earlier this year, Collier pleaded no contest to a drunken driving charge stemming from an incident last fall, avoiding trial and accepting six months of probation.
The 6-foot-7, 345-pound linemen was arrested Nov. 3 after officers found him asleep behind the wheel of his sports utility vehicle at a McDonald's drive-thru window, according to a police report. Collier failed field sobriety tests and had a blood-alcohol level of .096. In Florida, it is illegal to drive when a person's blood-alcohol level reaches .08.
Collier's attorney, Hank Coxe, disputed the police report and recommended that his client go to trial, but Collier didn't want the team to have to deal with the negative attention that it would generate.
Pettway, a backup defensive end who played in 17 games over the past two seasons, was among the players cut by the Jaguars last weekend.
Among major cities, Jacksonville has had Florida's highest per-capita homicide rate for nine straight years. Last year, 123 people were slain in the city -- about 14 murders per 100,000 residents.
Mayor John Peyton and Sheriff John Rutherford recently pushed the City Council to enact a $30 million anti-crime program. About $13 million of the $30 million will go to the police department to hire 40 new police officers and to pay overtime of other officers until new police can be trained.
Other recommendations included the establishment of out of school suspension centers for students and training and employment centers for former prison inmates.