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Report: Jamie Collins returns to Patriots, again, after stint with another team goes south, again

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The story of Jamie Collins' career is starting to repeat chapters.

The former Detroit Lions linebacker is working on a deal to return to Foxborough for his third stint with the New England Patriots, according to ESPN's Field Yates. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo also said a deal is happening.

Collins' time with the Lions came to an end last week when the team released him after it couldn't find a trade partner interested in the former Pro Bowler. The Lions signed Collins to a three-year, $30 million deal in 2020, back when they were run by fellow Patriots alumni Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn, but were apparently unsatisfied with the 31-year-old's play through the first two games of the season.

Now, Collins will follow Patricia back to New England, where he figures to get back on the field quickly thanks to his familiarity with Bill Belichick's organization. The Lions will carry $5.3 million in dead salary-cap money after dropping Collins.

History repeats for Jamie Collins and Patriots

If this all sounds familiar, it's because a very similar saga played out the first time Collins left the Patriots in 2016. 

Then coming off a second-team All-Pro season, Collins was reported to be seeking a massive contract once he hit free agency. Rather than try to pay up to retain Collins, Belichick traded him to the Cleveland Browns in the middle of the season.

Collins wound up signing a four-year, $50 million contract with the Browns, but the team hardly thrived with him aboard. His first full season in Cleveland was the team's infamous 0-16 season, a year that also saw him tear his MCL.

The Browns eventually released Collins in 2019. The linebacker returned to the Patriots on a cheap one-year deal and rebuilt his value enough to get that other big contract with the Lions. Which team he lands on after this stint is anyone's guess.