After 10 years of playing in the NFL, linebacker Jamie Collins has reportedly decided to hang up his cleats, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. The former Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro will retire after time playing with the Patriots, Browns, and Lions.
Drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Southern Miss, Collins was New England’s top pick of the year. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact as he started eight games as a rookie. A year later, Collins exploded onto the scene as the Super Bowl winning team’s leading tackler. In 15 starts, Collins complemented his 115-tackle season with four sacks, eight tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits, two interceptions, three passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries, filling up the stat sheet while leading the team in three of those other categories.
He followed that breakout performance up with an arguably better one. In 2015, the lone year in which he was voted to a Pro Bowl and an All-Pro team, Collins demonstrated an incredible nose for the football. While only playing in 12 starts, Collins had six pass deflections to go along with an interception and forced a league-leading five fumbles.
In 2016, Collins would start half the season for the Super Bowl-bound Patriots before being traded to Cleveland for a conditional third-round pick. While Collins would finish another strong outing, he would only win one more game in that season as a member of the Browns. Cleveland would sign Collins to a four-year, $50MM contract extension, but concussions and a torn MCL limited to only six starts under his new deal.
After returning to form for a full 2018 season, Collins would find his way back to the Patriots in 2019 after being released by the Browns. Collins displayed his comfort of being back in a Patriots’ jersey, recording or matching career-highs in interceptions (3, one returned for a touchdown), passes defensed (7), sacks (7.0), and quarterback hits (10).
After his one-year deal in New England had ended, Collins leveraged that strong season into a three-year, $30MM deal with the Lions, following his former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Three weeks into the second year of his contract, the Lions released Collins after failing to find a trade partner for him.
Naturally, Collins signed back with the team that drafted him, starting his third stint in New England. He spent some time on injured reserve before ending up on the team’s practice squad in 2022 and only seeing action in three games last year.
In total, Collins played in 125 regular season games, starting 105 of them, and totaled 26.5 sacks, 12 interceptions, and 19 forced fumbles. In addition to his playmaking ability, Collins was known for his elite athleticism, making NFL history by inspiring the NFL’s ban of players jumping over the long snapper to block a PAT, something he successfully did in 2015.
Collins gave a lot to the game of football and should continue to give with his plans to coach in the future. For now, though, he’ll take a well-deserved break from the league he gave ten years of his life to.