When New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins burst off the right edge and sacked Detroit Lions quarterback Tom Savage in the first quarter of the preseason opener Thursday night, it highlighted one of the top themes of training camp.
Collins has been a most disruptive defender, and his return to the team that traded him in 2016 has potential for explosive on-field fireworks.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal
“I love having him back. That man’s a great ballplayer,” veteran safety Patrick Chung said. “He can do a lot for us.”
Collins could be Chung 2.0 — an example of a player who fell out of favor in his first stint with the team but returns with a fresh slate and becomes a key cog.
Consider that when the Patriots traded Collins to the Cleveland Browns in the middle of the 2016 season, all they received was a late third-round draft choice. The deal shocked many players and seemed to be coach Bill Belichick taking an addition-by-subtraction outlook with Collins, who was in the final year of his rookie contract and eyeing a big payday.
Collins ultimately landed a four-year, $50 million deal from Cleveland, and now he’s back in New England on a modest one-year, $2 million deal.cheap nfl nike jerseys china
“It’s good to have Jamie back. Sometimes when guys leave here, they gain a little bit of perspective. Life happens. A lot of good things have happened in Jamie’s personal life off the field,” said team captain Matthew Slater, the Patriots’ third-longest-tenured player.
He also highlighted a message that his former Browns teammate, linebacker Christian Kirksey, had stressed on HBO’s popular “Hard Knocks” program last year.
“It’s always a part of it — playing for your family, especially when you have kids. You always have to find that ‘Why?’ Sometimes when it’s just you, it’s hard for you [to find it],” said Collins, who turns 30 in October. “As long as you have someone to play for, you’re good. And I do.”
Teammates have taken notice. Slater had previously connected with Collins through their shared connection to Mississippi; Collins grew up in McCall Creek and attended Southern Mississippi, while Slater’s father — Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater — grew up in Jackson.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Jamie, always enjoyed his company, he’s always been a good teammate,” Slater said. “He’s been a lot of fun to have in the locker room. Obviously, you can’t miss his presence on the field. I think he’s grateful for the opportunity he has here, and we’re grateful to have him. It’s been good so far.”