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New England Patriots

Jamie Collins of the New England Patriots intercepts a pass thrown by Garrett Grayson of the New Orleans Saints in the first half and runs the ball in for a touchdown during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jamie Collins of the New England Patriots intercepts a pass thrown by Garrett Grayson of the New Orleans Saints in the first half and runs the ball in for a touchdown during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Jamie Collins is always looking to grow, to learn new things. He admitted that he learned a lot about himself after the Patriots unceremoniously shipped him to Cleveland.

The veteran linebacker is back for his second stint with the Patriots, and no sure shot of making the 53-man roster. And if he does, he’s far from a sure thing to earn the maximum value of his contract. But Collins showed as soon as Thursday’s OTA session, the first of 2019 opened to the media, that he still has the athleticism that sometimes made him a game-changing player on the Pats defense.

We already knew that about Collins, though. And he already knew that about himself. He says there was more to learn in his two-plus seasons with the Browns, and he continues to do so as he returns to where his career started. Collins explained what he did learn from the trade and spending time with a new organization.

“To do my job, never put my head down, don’t stop – just keep going,” Collins told reporters after practice. “Like I said it’s a business, I can’t fold, I can’t give up. Like I said, it’s not just about me. I can’t give up. I’ve got to keep pushing no matter what.”

Jamie Collins of the New England Patriots reacts after stopping Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks in the first quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Jamie Collins of the New England Patriots reacts after stopping Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks in the first quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Collins also said he made the decision to return to the Patriots collectively with his family, and that they were particularly excited to go to a familiar place. So that’s one thing that will be exactly the same as his first go-round in New England.

If reports out of Cleveland are to be believed, though, Collins still needs to change in terms of consistency. He had similar ups and downs on the field with the Browns that he did with the Patriots. Consistency is one of the most important traits for a Patriots player to have if he wants to sustain a career in Foxborough in the first place.

Collins is dealing with a deep entrenchment of linebackers on defense with Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, and promising sophomore Ja’Whaun Bentley expected back. Elandon Roberts is in camp as he enters the final year of his rookie deal, and Christian Sam remains in the fold after going on IR for his rookie season. The recently re-upped Brandon King will be back as a core special teamer and Calvin Munson is also in that mix. Ex-Raider Shilique Calhoun and rookie free agent Terez Hall round out the group.

Despite the competition, Collins stood out on Thursday with his familiar explosiveness. Consistency and confidence will be key for him to earn his spot in his second opportunity with the Patriots. But he knows that means he won’t be able to let up from here through camp if he’s going to make an impact in New England again.

“I change every day. I grow every day,” Collins said. “That’s what we all hope to do. Nobody wants to stay the same. We all want to mature and grow. So I’ve changed a lot. Like I said, each and every day, stay changing.”

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.