Jamie Collins addresses returning to New England, 2016 trade to Cleveland

Ryan Hannable
May 23, 2019 - 2:34 pm

FOXBORO -- In a prime example of how Bill Belichick doesn't care about what's happened in the past, Jamie Collins is back with the Patriots following signing with the team last week.

Things didn't end on the best of terms when Collins was traded to Cleveland at the trade deadline in 2016, but now he's back with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2013 draft.

"I mean, I was surprised," Collins said following Thursday's OTA session about returning. "But then again, I wasn’t because I’m just a free agent, so obviously a lot of teams are going to contact you or whatever. That’s just the business of the game. I’m always surprised no matter what. I’m surprised right now just being in the position."

He added: "It’s not just about me, man. 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."

The 2016 deadline deal was one of the more shocking moves in the Belichick era, one that was pretty unpopular among players in the locker room.

"I mean, it was just a change of destination, man," Collins 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."

Collins, who has been a free agent since March, said familiarity with the Patriots played a role in his return.

"Yeah. I mean, I started here," he said. "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."

In 30 games with the Browns, Collins recorded 204 tackles and seven sacks. It's worth noting he will have a more specialized role with the team this time around, which the hope is it works out better for both sides.

"I change every day. I grow every day," he said. "Obviously, that’s what we hope to do. No one wants to stay the same. We all want to mature and grow. [I’ve] changed a lot each and every day. Stay changing."

Collins will be competing with Dont'a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Ja'Whaun Bentley, Elandon Roberts and Christian Sam for playing time.

Related: Patriots OTA observations: Rookie WR N'Keal Harry stands out