Free-agent LB Jamie Collins heads back to Patriots for third stint 

Jamie Collins is headed to New England. Again.

Collins has agreed to terms with the Patriots, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, for what will be his third stint with the team.

The news was first reported by ESPN. The team announced the signing Wednesday.

Collins had other interested parties, but the familiarity with the Patriots closed the deal, Garafolo added.

It's only been a week since the Detroit Lions released the veteran linebacker after he struggled in new defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn's system, ultimately losing his starting job to a rookie.

Collins' forthcoming run with the Patriots will be his third in New England. He first came to the Patriots as a second-round draft pick in 2013, and he made a Pro Bowl in his third season. After a stretch of two-plus seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Collins made his way back to New England in 2019 before signing with the Lions for 2020.

Detroit appeared to be a nice fit at the time, as Collins was reunited with then-Lions coach Matt Patricia, whom he'd previously played for in New England. Indeed, Collins was central to the Lions' defense last year in making 101 tackles.

But a new coaching staff in Detroit clearly wasn't on the same page with Collins; after a poor performance in a Week 2 loss to the Green Bay Packers, new Lions coach Dan Campbell signaled a change was forthcoming. Campbell benched Collins in favor of rookie Derrick Barnes, a fourth-round pick from Purdue. At first, the club tried to facilitate a trade for Collins, but when those efforts failed, Collins was released.

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