When Jamie Collins steps on the field, it looks familiar. It’s been three seasons since this 29-year-old ultra-athletic linebacker suited up with the Patriots.

When you see him play, it’s hard not to flash back to those days in 2014 and 2015. That’s when Collins was winning Super Bowls and getting Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.

After being released by the Cleveland Browns this offseason, it took Collins two months to find a new home. With a fresh start in Foxborough, this seven-year veteran is once again making the most of his opportunities with the Patriots.

“Jamie’s a very special player,” said Coach Bill Belichick. “He’s very smart, instinctive. He’s got a great nose for the ball in the passing game and in the running game. He’s got the physical skills to play at the end of the line and off the line, to blitz, to play in coverage, play against the run and play against the pass … he’s added a lot to us.”

“Jamie is a very smart guy,” added Jerod Mayo, the inside linebackers coach. “He studies a lot of film, and he’s played well for us up until this point. So, he’s definitely a smart guy. I think that really helps him … So, definitely great to have a guy like Jamie.”

In three games this year, Collins leads the Patriots in tackles (19), quarterback hits (four) and tackles for loss (five), is tied for the lead in sacks (2.5), and is second in interceptions (two). His five tackles for loss are second in the NFL and would’ve been third on the Patriots last year.

What’s always made Collins special is his athletic ability for someone who stands 6-foot-3, 255 pounds. When he first came to the Patriots, as a second-round pick in 2013, he’d wow his teammates by performing back flips on the practice field.

He can play off the edge and rush the passer, or play middle linebacker. Collins also has the ability to drop back in coverage and disrupt passing lanes.

“We’re glad to have Jamie back,” said Patriots outside linebackers coach DeMarcus Covington. “He’s a special player. He’s a smart player who really just has a feel for getting to the ball.”

When the Patriots traded Collins in 2016, Patriots players were shocked. Reports soon followed that the linebacker was “freelancing” and not playing within the defensive system. His time in Cleveland was also up and down.

Collins signed a big contract ($50 million over four years), but missed most of the 2017 season because of a concussion and a knee injury. Last year, he made 104 tackles and four sacks, but the performance wasn’t enough for the Browns to keep him around.

It took Collins months to find a new home. After seeing him play to start the season, it’s almost as he never left New England.

“It’s amazing watching him play,” said defensive lineman Adam Butler. “He’s really explosive, but you don’t need to ask me to see that.

“You can see that. He’s a great teammate. He comes to work every day. He just sets a great example for young guys like me that want to be on that level some day.”

PRACTICE REPORT: Left tackle Marshall Newhouse was not at practice Thursday during the portion of practice visible to the media after being limited during Wednesday’s practice.

Newhouse has been the Patriots’ starter at left tackle ever since Isaiah Wynn went down with a toe injury in Week 2. Also absent were safety Obi Melifonwu and practice squad defensive lineman Nick Thurman.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman was present for a second straight practice since being knocked out of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets because of a chest injury.

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