Even though he also spent time in Cleveland and Detroit, Jamie Collins will forever be associated with the New England Patriots. Now, the 33-year-old linebacker has called it a career.
Collins told ESPN on Friday that he would step away from the game after 10 seasons and a combined 134 regular season and playoff games.
“It hasn’t hit me yet, but I’m officially retired,” Collins said. “It was wonderful and something I never thought I’d be a part of. Made a lot of great relationships. Had a ton of fun. Now it’s time to relax and be with my family.”
An intriguing athlete coming out of Southern Miss, Collins entered the NFL as a second-round selection by the Patriots in the 2013 draft. The team’s highest-drafted player that year, he earned prominent playing time right away and was the No. 2 off-ball linebacker alongside Dont’a Hightower by his sophomore season.
That year, Collins played a crucial role in helping New England win a Super Bowl. The following season, he was voted to his first and ultimately only Pro Bowl.
Despite the arrow seemingly pointing up for Collins, the Patriots decided to trade him to the Cleveland Browns midway through their 2016 Super Bowl season. He went on to sign a four-year, $50 million contract with the organization the following January, but lasted only two-and-a-half seasons before getting released again.
Shortly after he was cut from the Brown in March 2019, New England scooped Collins up again. He immediately returned to form, registering a career-best three interceptions and seven sacks that season, and set himself up for another payday.
The Detroit Lions signed him to a three-year, $30 million contract in 2020, but Collins again did not find a permanent home. He was released early in his second season, and was back in New England for a third time shortly thereafter. His final stop was the Patriots practice squad, where he spent most of his 2022 campaign.
He was not retained after the season, however, and eventually remained unsigned ever since. Now, Collins has decided to put an end to a remarkable if at times uneven career in pro football.
He will not leave the sport for good, though: Collins is planning to go into coaching as his next career move.
“I’m still thinking about football all the time,” he said, “it’s bleeding through my veins. I love the game.”