Jamie Collins

New Patriots LB Brandon Copeland looking to 'leave my mark on everyone'

New Patriots LB Brandon Copeland looking to 'leave my mark on everyone'

While the Patriots free agent departures have made plenty of headlines this offseason - there was a certain quarterback you may remember drew plenty of attention - an interesting free agent addition was introduced to the New England media on Wednesday. 

Linebacker Brandon Copeland, 28, who spent the past two seasons with the New York Jets, said on a conference call that he's all about making a mark on and off the field.

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“I just want to leave my mark on everyone I come into contact with. Whether that’s the player next to me, the player opposite of me on offense, the chef, the janitor, Copeland said. "I’ve been fortunate to personally leave a positive mark anywhere I go. For me, that is the most important thing. When I step on the field, you know you’re going to get my all."

That kind of attitude has helped him rise from an undrafted free agent out of Ivy League Penn to preparing to begin his fifth season in the NFL. Copeland signed a one-year deal with New England to help offset the free-agent linebacker losses of Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts. 

He provides the kind of versatility the Patriots are always looking for. After two seasons with the Detroit Lions, he's spent his past two with the Jets and has played linebacker, defensive end and on special teams. His best season was 2018 when, as mostly an edge rusher, he had 14 QB hits and five sacks for New York. 

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“In terms of my own role here for me, I’m trying to go in and learn as much as possible,” Copeland said. “I’m obviously a linebacker body type but I’ve realized what’s kept me in the league for this long and at the level I’ve played at is the fact that I can do multiple things at a high level.”

That desire to make an impact extends away from the field. Copeland received the NFL Players Association's Alan Page Award this past year for his community service. On his introductory call, he said he's partnered with local organizations to donate $10,000 worth of groceries to Boston-area neighborhoods impacted by the coronavirus crisis. He also made similar $10,000 donations in Baltimore, where he's from, and New Jersey, where he played with the Jets. 

Copeland also teaches a financial literacy course called "Life 101" at Penn's Wharton School of Business and he's extended that instruction lately to NFL players staying at home during the pandemic. His "Beyond the Basics" foundation hosts Christmas shopping for low-income families and a football camp for kids - via Zoom conference call on Saturday this year - that includes providing school supplies and hygiene kits. 

“I really want to make sure that at my funeral, as grim as that may sound, there’s more people talking about the holiday shopping spree we took them on, or the groceries we gave them during a crazy time like this, than a sack that I’m going to have this year or something like that,” Copeland said. “And again, I know that might be weird to say in a forum like this, but that’s just the reality of the situation.”

Patriots bid farewell to Stephen Gostkowski, Kyle Van Noy, others with tribute videos

Patriots bid farewell to Stephen Gostkowski, Kyle Van Noy, others with tribute videos

The New England Patriots' roster will look much different in 2020 due to several key players leaving via trade, free agency, or release.

Quarterback Tom Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stole most of the headlines, but the other departures deserve some attention. That's why the Patriots said goodbye to them with a series of tribute videos Wednesday on Twitter.

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Check them out below:

Safeties Duron Harmon (traded to Detroit Lions) and Nate Ebner (signed with New York Giants)

Linebackers Jamie Collins (signed with Lions), Elandon Roberts (signed with Miami Dolphins), and Kyle Van Noy (signed with Dolphins)

Stephen Gostkowski (released)

The Patriots also released an incredible tribute video for Brady shortly after the six-time Super Bowl champion announced he was headed to Tampa Bay.

Ex-Patriots LB Jamie Collins has fitting reaction to Tom Brady as Buccaneers QB

Ex-Patriots LB Jamie Collins has fitting reaction to Tom Brady as Buccaneers QB

The sight of Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a strange one for many New England Patriots fans, and it sounds like Jamie Collins feels the same way.

Collins spoke on an introductory conference call Tuesday in his first press availability since leaving the Patriots and signing with the Detroit Lions in NFL free agency. He was asked about Brady's surprising decision to sign with the Buccaneers, and the veteran linebacker wasn't afraid to admit that it feels a bit odd. 

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Collins was drafted by the Patriots in 2013 and remained in New England until the team traded him to the Cleveland Browns in the middle of the 2016 campaign. He won a championship with Brady during the 2014 season when the Patriots defeated the defending champion Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

The 30-year-old linebacker returned to the Patriots as a free agent for the 2019 season and was one of the team's best defensive players. He tallied a team-high seven sacks and a career-high three interceptions, along with 81 total tackles, three forced fumbles and seven passes defensed.

Collins was able to parlay his strong 2019 campaign into a reported three-year, $30 million contract with the Lions in free agency. He'll reunite with former Patriots defensive coordinator and current Lions head coach Matt Patricia in Detroit.

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