Star linebacker Jamie Collins has been out of the Patriots’ lineup since the end of October because of an illness, one that president Jonathan Kraft isn’t worried will spread throughout the team, per Mike Petraglia of WEEI.
“Jamie’s getting better and getting stronger every day,” Kraft said Sunday. “I know people in non-football life that end up with really bad viruses and get knocked out of their professional lives for a while.”
Continued Kraft, “This was something that doesn’t have us worried about the physical infrastructure at the facility. There wasn’t anything related to Jamie’s issues that had anything to do with the facility.”
Kraft’s words indicate that Collins’ illness isn’t MRSA, a staph infection-causing disease that has affected NFL teams in the past. Most recently, it ended the season of Giants tight end Daniel Fells in October.
Collins returned to practice Friday, so it appears he’ll be back in game action sometime this season.
And now a look at some of the Patriots’ AFC counterparts, including their Sunday night opponent:
- Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, currently on the shelf because of a plantar fascia injury, is eager to return to the field as soon as possible. The team doesn’t share in his eagerness, though, and it’s causing friction between the two sides, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Regarding the possibility of a healthy Manning backing up Brock Osweiler, a source told La Canfora, “We know this much — he’s not going to go quietly. He’s going to have to be dealt with.”
- After briefly losing his job to Johnny Manziel, Josh McCown is back as the Browns’ starting quarterback – which he’s ambivalent about, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. While McCown relishes playing again, he isn’t pleased that his opportunity comes at the expense of Manziel – whom the Browns benched because of off-field issues. “You understand that you have a job to do, and the coaches make the decision and tell you you’re playing and you move forward accordingly,” said McCown. “But at the same time, I’m in the room with [Manziel] every day, and we’ve built a relationship. I’m a big advocate of his and a fan and a friend as well.”
- The Browns have noteworthy free agents-to-be in safety Tashaun Gipson, tight end Gary Barnidge and receiver Travis Benjamin. If they only re-sign one, it should be the 25-year-old Gipson, writes Tom Reed of Cleveland.com. Gipson hasn’t been as sharp this season after leading the AFC in interceptions in 2013 and ’14, which could drop his price. That’s something Reed believes the Browns should look to capitalize on after they couldn’t reach a long-term deal with Gipson last offseason, when he was coming off a Pro Bowl campaign.