The pioneering talk show host also addressed Collins' "very exciting" announcement during the monologue she taped for today's Ellen, and when E! News caught up with her last night at the premiere for the hotly anticipated new season of Arrested Development, she said she was proud of the veteran athlete.
"He's a brave man, he's a very brave man," DeGeneres told us on the red carpet, wife (and Arrested star) Portia De Rossi by her side.
"For the first guy, actively playing, 'cause there's a lot—well, not a lot, but some people have come out after they retire, but to do it while he's still playing is a really brave thing and I'm really proud of him."
In applauding Collins' decision on Ellen, the comedian said: "I would high-five you, but I don't think I can reach you. But when I see you, I am gonna hug your knees so hard."
For more, tune into E! News on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.