Patriots

Jamie Collins isn't looking back at why Patriots traded him to Browns

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Jamie Collins isn't looking back at why Patriots traded him to Browns

FOXBORO – Jamie Collins was never a guy who was going to lay his soul bare during his first go-round with the Patriots. So it wasn’t surprising that, in our first chance to speak with him since rejoining the team, he was nice enough but all about business.

“Another day on the job,” Collins said when asked about being back in familiar surroundings. “Just get out here and do what I get paid to do and that’s play football and do it to the best of my ability.”

Wearing a navy blue practice jersey No. 8 with a red hoodie underneath, Collins is back with the team that traded him away in October of 2016.

The main reason he was dealt was the team and Collins weren’t heading toward a contract extension. The Patriots got something back for him before he left in free agency. But in the short-term, Collins also hadn’t been playing well.

Asked if there was any strained feeling with the team as he returns, Collins batted the notion aside.

“I mean, it was just a change of destination, man,” he said. “I’m a professional and just have to be professional about the business. Business is business. You can’t get upset or do this or do that. I just tried to pick up where I left and move on. Take it to the next space no matter where it’s at.”

Was it an easy choice?

“It’s not just about me, man,” he replied. “I’ve got a family. I’ve got a wife and kids. I’ve always got to think about them as well. I can’t just make decisions based on myself."

There’s not much to be gleaned from an OTA practice even when the offense and defense are scrimmaging 11-on-11. There’s no forceful contact on blocks, there’s no touching the running backs and the defensive backs normally yield and don’t challenge receivers too actively. What you can gauge are things like speed and interactions.

Collins’ ability to cover massive amounts of land in a short period of time remains intact. There was one “blitz” situation when the Patriots sent probably six rushers in 11-on-11. Collins, coming from the second level, ducked through the offensive line and just materialized next to Brian Hoyer. It was confirmation of the explosiveness.

Reunited with Dont’a Hightower and now playing under inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, Collins brightened when asked about both men.

“It’s cool. It’s pretty cool. That’s like my big bro,” Collins said of Hightower. “It’s bigger than football.”

As for Mayo?

“It’s even more fun with that guy being our coach,” he said. “Like I said, it’s all business. You still got to do your job. You still got to handle your business and do it to the best of your ability. You can’t just be out here, ‘oh, it’s my boy, it’s my boy.’ We still got a job. Each and everyone has a job, so we all got to be professional and then we can handle our business later.”

Collins spent more than two months as a free agent after the Browns released him on March 6 to dodge his large salary cap hit. He re-signed with the Patriots for a $1.05M salary and just $250K guaranteed. He can make as much as $5M if hits every incentive.

“I started here,” he said when asked if familiarity played a role. “I had the opportunity to come out and start my career here. Obviously yes, that played a big factor. Like I said, whatever the opportunity is, presents itself, it’s not just me. I’ve got other people to think about. It’s a team thing.”

Collins wasn’t delving deep into his Cleveland experience except to say that what he learned was, “To do my job. Never put my head down. Don’t stop. Just keep going. It’s a business, man. I can’t fold. I can’t give up. It’s not just about me. I can’t give up. I’ve got to keep pushing no matter what.”

As for looking back at Halloween, 2016?

“No, man. It happened. I don’t live in the past. I keep pushing to do my thing and keep going.”

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Former Bengal, Patriot Marquis Flowers opens up on the 'We're on to Cincinnati' game

Former Bengal, Patriot Marquis Flowers opens up on the 'We're on to Cincinnati' game

The New England Patriots weren't exactly in a great spot heading into Week 5 of the 2014 NFL season. The team was only 2-2 and was coming off a crushing 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football.

In that game, Tom Brady didn't look like his usual self. He had two picks, just 159 passing yards, and one touchdown pass that came when the team was already down 27-0. He was replaced late by Jimmy Garoppolo, who looked solid on the field. That led some to wonder if the Patriots dynasty was coming to an end.

Famously, after the game, Bill Belichick answered every question posed about the game with one simple response. "We're on to Cincinnati." The press conference went viral and put a spotlight on the Patriots' Sunday night clash with the Cincinnati Bengals.

That game ended up defining the season. The Patriots bounced back by smashing the Bengals by a final score of 43-17. Brady looked as strong as ever, and that was the first step for the Patriots to get back onto the Super Bowl path.

At least, that's how former Bengals linebacker Marquis Flowers remembers it. On Twitter, Flowers shared a brief memory of the game, including what his then-defensive coordinator said.

So, yeah. Clearly that type of hype up didn't work, especially since the Patriots were so desperate for a win at the time. And the "demise of the Patriots" storyline was clearly overblown considering that they've won three Super Bowls and appeared in a fourth since that game.

The D-coordinator's words and the headlines of the time make this an amusing anecdote that just makes the whole event that much better for the Patriots, in retrospect.

That said, It's easy to see why Flowers was able to laugh this off. Flowers was a part of the Patriots in 2017, so he has seen both sides of the "We're on to Cincinnati" game. Flowers likely enjoyed his time in New England, as he logged 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks in his best NFL season to date. He also got to play in the Super Bowl (although the Patriots fell in that game to the Philadelphia Eagles).

Click here for latest Patriots 53-man roster projection>>>

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Patriots 2019 training camp schedule: Here's when veterans will report

Patriots 2019 training camp schedule: Here's when veterans will report

The defending Super Bowl champions will be back at Gillette Stadium exactly one month from Monday.

The NFL announced training camp report dates for all 32 teams Monday, and the Patriots' rookies are due in Foxboro on July 21, while the veterans are set to arrive on July 24.

Training camp traditionally starts one day after veterans report, meaning New England should begin training camp Thursday, July 25.

The Patriots have been off since June 10, when head coach Bill Belichick cancelled the team's final two days of organized team activities and set up a lively paintball experience instead.

The team hasn't announced complete training camp dates and times yet, but the Patriots will head to Detroit in the first full week of August for joint practices with the Lions prior to their Aug. 8 preseason opener.

They'll also hold joint practices with the Tennessee Titans the following week.

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