Probation extended for former LSU football standout Collins

Former LSU, McNeese State and Miami Dolphins running back Cecil “The Diesel” Collins dodged more prison time Monday and was instead put on probation for an extra three years for violating his probation in a pair of 1998 Baton Rouge cases.

Collins, who was released from a Florida prison in May after serving more than 13 years for a 1999 burglary in Miami, faced the possibility Monday of going back to prison, this time in Louisiana, for up to five additional years.

State District Judge Mike Caldwell, who put Collins on probation for four years in 1999 after giving him a suspended five-year prison term, warned Collins that he’ll be given no more chances.

“You’ve still got five years hanging over you here. If you mess up again, you’re not going to get a third chance,” Caldwell told Collins.

“Good luck to you, sir. I hope I never see you again. I know you don’t want to see me again,” the judge added, noting that he believes Collins has matured since his prior run-ins with the law.

Collins’ attorney, Rodney Baum, spoke for Collins after the hearing and said keeping him out of prison was his main goal.

“I think the judge seriously weighed all the options. We’re not disappointed in this outcome,” Baum said. “We think he’s going to do fine.”

East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Sue Bernie pushed for Caldwell to revoke Collins’ probation and send him to prison. Collins acknowledged Monday that he violated his probation.

“Although revoking him and ordering him to serve his jail time would have been appropriate, continuing him on probation for three years is not unreasonable and we respect that decision,” Bernie said after court.

Collins, 36, was on probation in 1999 for forcing his way into the apartments of two women who lived in a Nicholson Drive complex when he sneaked into his neighbors’ apartment in Miami. He was convicted in 2001 of burglary in the Florida case.

Following his arrest in Florida, Louisiana authorities issued a warrant for Collins’ arrest for violating his probation.

After his May release from a Florida prison, Collins was immediately transferred to Baton Rouge and taken into custody for possible revocation of his probation.

Caldwell released Collins on bail in July after refusing to revoke his probation, but the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal reversed Caldwell in September and ordered him to conduct a revocation hearing. The Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed the reversal by denying Collins’ appeal in January.

In the Baton Rouge cases, Collins plead guilty in April 1999 to two felony counts of unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling and two misdemeanor counts of simple battery. He was accused of fondling two women.

Several months later, in December 1999, he committed a burglary in Miami.

Collins got married more than six years ago while imprisoned and lives with his wife and child in the Fort Lauderdale area of Florida. He works at a rehabilitation facility performing maintenance.