PHOENIX — Jamie Collins couldn’t hide Tuesday.

The second-year linebacker from Southern Mississippi led the New England Patriots with 109 tackles in the regular season and leads them in the playoffs with 15. But you never hear about it from him.

Collins, 25, does not like to talk to the media.

“That’s not my thing, man,” he said. “I just want to play football.”

Tuesday, however, was Media Day, an NFL-created event that combines serious probing with some frivolous questions. Every player and coach has to attend.

So there was Collins, sitting in his booth, not sure what to say when Pick Boy – the superhero for the Nickelodeon network – presented him with a birthday invitation.

“I’m having a birthday this Sunday,” said Pick Boy. “And you’re invited.”

Pick Boy then asked Collins if he would trade the Lombardi Trophy for a pair of Pick Boy’s shorts.

“Ah, no,” said Collins.

And you see why he doesn’t like to talk to the media.

Collins was actually very good in his hour-long session. He said he was dreading it at first, then decided there was nothing he could do. So he tried to enjoy it.

“It’s not too bad,” he said.

There are many who feel that Collins, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, is just scratching his potential. He can blitz the quarterback, take on a power back and still cover a running back in pass coverage.

He said he’s willing to do whatever Coach Bill Belichick asks. Even go on offense? “If he lets me, I’ll do it,” he said.

He hopes he’s earned Belichick’s trust, not only with his play but leadership. After veteran Jerod Mayo went down with an injury, Collins’ role expanded and he became one of the defense’s leaders.

Much of that, he said, is because of things he learned from Mayo and Dont’a Hightower.

“It’s been a success as you can see, so you know, we just need to keep that brotherhood going,” he said. “I learned a lot from Hightower and Jerod Mayo. I try to use everything to my advantage.”

We did learn one thing about Collins: “I’m a pool shark.”

WHILE COLLINS and 14 other Patriots (including Belichick) had their places at risers with seats, the rest of the players and coaches mingled on the floor with the media.

Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer was one of them.

“I would like a chair,” he said, nearing the end of the hour-long session.

He said he was looking forward to it. “It’s a unique experience,” he said. “Not every player gets to experience it.”

BOBBY WAGNER, the Seahawks’ middle linebacker, was wearing a Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles backpack during Media Day.

“Rafael is my favorite,” he said. “I love all those moves.”

If asked, he said, he wouldn’t turn down a cameo in the next one.

He also likes puppies. “I have one,” he said. “A Husky. Roxi.”

The things we learn.

JEREMY LANE, Seattle’s nickel corner, raised some eyebrows earlier this week when he said of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski: “I actually don’t think he’s that good.”

To which Hightower responded Tuesday, “I don’t know what he’s seeing on tape.”

MATT PATRICIA, the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, apparently had loftier goals at one time than being a football coach. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Poly.

“That was kind of what I wanted to do,” he said. “I wanted to be a pilot and design planes. Basically I went to school for that.”

So how did he become a football coach?

“I played college football,” he said. “I had stayed an extra year to start my MBA, so I coached one year and started my MBA. I got out, did engineering for a couple of years and it just wasn’t what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be in a cubicle in front of a computer, working with numbers. I just thought, as a college player, looking at coaches that I had, just what an influence you could have on young men’s lives and people in general. I thought that was great.”

We also found out he doesn’t sleep much.

“Four hours is a good night,” he said. “I enjoy sleep but there’s just not a lot of opportunity to get it. It depends. It could be a couple hours or an hour. It could be three. Four hours is nice but it doesn’t happen all of the time.”