Collins received news of trade from ex-49ers DC Ryans

For Maliek Colins, being traded to the 49ers was a surprise — but the defensive tackle was thankful when the news was delivered by Houston Texans coach DeMeco Ryans.

“DeMeco had called me to tell me the trade had gone through,” Collins said via video conference on Thursday. “I was grateful for that, and I think that shows his character and shows who he is as a man that he would call and break that news to me himself.”

The defensive lineman spent the past three seasons of his eight-year NFL career with the Texans, having his final campaign in Houston come during Ryans’ inaugural year as a head coach. Playing under the former 49ers defensive coordinator likely will enable a seamless transition to his new home in the Bay Area.

“I actually played in the same system last year under DeMeco and you saw how it bolstered the team in Houston,” Collins said. “I’m excited to come to the place that has had the most success in it as of lately.”

In 2023, Collins signed a two-year $23 million contract with the Texans, which made the trade more unexpected. The 49ers brought the Nebraska product in to help fill the void left by Arik Armstead, who was released Wednesday and subsequently signed a three-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I don’t think you replace a player like AA,” Collins said. “The person he is in the community, the person he is on the field, I don’t think you replace that. I’m just here to add my skill set and being what I am to the table.”

The Texans are an ascending team but Collins is excited for the opportunity in front of him in the Bay Area, noting the team’s frequent visits to the playoffs. The 49ers wide-9 defensive scheme also appeals to Collins for its ability to create opportunities for interior players to get pressure on a quarterback as well as stopping the run.

Collins has not yet discussed how he will be specifically used in the scheme, but his offseason training partner, Javon Hargrave, will undoubtedly help him catch up to speed. Collins believes there might not be a better fit for him in the NFL.

“What a great place to be in,” Collins said. “A place that has had a lot of success, a storied organization like the 49ers. I couldn’t ask for a better situation, but it did come as a surprise. I’m super excited to be here, to be in the Bay Area and to be out here to add to the success to this team and this franchise.”

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