The Cleveland Browns were 1-15 last year. For linebacker Jamie Collins, that record alone could have detered him from re-signing to stay on the shores of Lake Erie for the foreseeable future and also could have been the sole reason why he could have joined one of the other 31 teams in the NFL via free agency. Instead, the veteran decided to re-sign with the team who surprisingly traded for him on Halloween in 2016.
While talking to the media this week, the 26-year-old opened up about why he decided to return to Cleveland. His main reason had to do with head coach Hue Jackson, who seems to be highly respected from many players across the NFL. Here’s what he had to say, according to clevelandbrowns.com’s Patrick Maks:
“The decision to me coming back, the main was reason was because of Hue. We can say money, but talking to Hue, I like him a lot. He’s a good dude. … Good people don’t come too often and when they do, you’ve got to keep them in your corner. So (Jackson), and like I said, them guys in the locker room, it’s different. I wasn’t just going to bail out on them like that and they threw some good money so yeah, of course, I’m staying here.”
In a matter of a single season, Collins went from a Super Bowl winner to arguably the worst team in the league. But, the linebacker, while knowing the climb that’s ahead, admitted that he’s up for the challenge. Whether it’s the relationships he has built in Berea or wanting to be part of the rebuild and bring a winning NFL team to the shores of Lake Erie, Collins is up for (and ready) for the challenge up ahead.
In eight games with the Browns in 2016, the linebacker finished with 69 tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble. He and Christian Kirksey will likely be two mainstays in the middle of the Browns defense for years to come, and two players that the team can build their defense around as well.
Cleveland acquired Collins with hopes that he would re-sign with the team but no guarantees. While many Browns fans would have had a tough time believing that such a talent would want to stick around and stay with the orange and brown, the front office had faith that they could do just that. They may not receive much kudos, but major kudos to Jackson and the front office for keeping a talent like Collins on the team for years to come.
While the Browns may have offered more money to Collins than what he would have received on the open market, seeing a highly thought of player and talent like Collins, who has already been a Pro Bowl selection, All-Pro honoree, and Super Bowl champion, say positive things about Jackson and the Browns is always refreshing.