After two and a half years away from the New England Patriots, Jamie Collins has made his return. Collins was originally a second-round pick by the Patriots out of Southern Miss in the 2013 NFL Draft, but he was dealt to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a third-round draft before his rookie contract was up.
Collins was solid during his Browns tenure, but he didn't quite find the same success he did in New England. After two and a half seasons in Cleveland, Collins was cut and lingered on the open market for a bit before the Patriots offered him a deal. And in a recent interview, Collins spoke about what made him want to return to New England.
"Everything," Collins said to NFL Network's Kay Adams and Mike Giardi. "On the field, off the field, especially the winning part. Once you're a winner, man, it's hard to fall away from that. And you don't settle for anything less."
Collins, of course, had a taste of winning in his three-plus years with the Patriots, as the team beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIV during Collins' second season. But since his trade to the Browns, winning has been more elusive, so getting the opportunity to return to his former team and play on a reigning Super Bowl champion was too good to pass up.
Additionally, Collins has the unique opportunity to work with a former teammate as his position coach. Jerod Mayo was hired this offseason to coach the team's inside linebackers and Collins is excited to be able to work with him moving forward.
"That's awesome," Collins said to Adams and Giardi. "Knowing that I played with this guy and now, he's my coach. You learn different stuff. You know, he's a player first. He sees things differently. He sees things like I see things and I see things like him. You got the best of both worlds. He sees stuff that coaches can't see. He can break it down even better than a coach because he's been out on the field with me. It's just great to have him out there and for me to be a part of this."
Collins will have to battle a solid linebacker group including Kyle Van Noy, Ja'Whaun Bentley, Elandon Roberts, and Dont'a Hightower for playing time. But, there's a chance he could reemerge as a role player on this Patriots team, especially if he can earn Mayo's trust. Either way, it seems that he has the right motivations and attitude heading into his seventh NFL season.
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