Brandon Copeland was an undrafted free agent in 2013, and his survival in the NFL is “the fact that I can do multiple things at a high level,” he said. Now he gets the chance to do those things in New England. Adam Hunger/Associated PressAP

Brandon Copeland’s NFL journey has been all about versatility.

He specifically remembers a game during his first season on an active roster in which he played middle linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end and special teams – all in the same game. That’s what has allowed this undrafted free agent from the University of Pennsylvania to stick in the NFL.

It is, however, not the only thing that defines the 28-year-old Maryland native.

Copeland is versatile off the field as well. The Patriots’ newest linebacker signed a one-year deal this offseason after two seasons with the Jets. He also looks like one of the more well-rounded people to come to New England in quite some time. Copeland teaches financial literacy at his alma mater, runs webinars for players for financial literacy, runs a foundation to help kids, and is doing his part to donate food and groceries to medical workers and people in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Linebacker Brandon Copeland signed with the Patriots in the offseason after two years in Detroit and two years with the Jets. Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images/TNS

“I just want to leave my mark on everyone I come into contact with,” Copeland said Wednesday. “Whether that’s the player next to me, the player opposite of me on offense, the chef, the janitor. I’ve been fortunate to personally leave a positive mark anywhere I go.

“For me, that is the most important thing. When I step on the field, you know you’re going to get my all. … You know you’re going to get a fighter. You know you’re going to get a dog who’s going to work his tail off. That’s base level, ground line.”

Off the field, Copeland was recognized as the recipient of the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award last season. The honor goes to a player who has performed an above-and-beyond role in community service. Copeland won the award after taking 300 children on a Christmas shopping spree to Target last winter. His reach didn’t stop there, either.

At Penn, he teaches a class called “Life 101” for the Wharton School of Business. It covers such topics as home buying, purchasing a car and deal with student-loan debt. His foundation – Beyond the Basics – aims to help kids and families in need. Last year, the group put on a football camp for kids, but athletics wasn’t the complete focus. The organization put together 1,000 book bags and filled them with school supplies and hygiene kits. The camp won’t happen in person this year because of the pandemic, but on Saturday, it’ll be virtual through a videoconference.

The foundation also has donated $10,000 worth of groceries to people in need and to health-care workers in Baltimore and New Jersey. Copeland plans to do that in New England as well.

“There’s a lot of people who are hungry at this time,” Copeland said. “So, we’ve partnered with a couple of organizations to not only deliver food to people who are in extreme need, … delivering them a week’s worth of groceries in Baltimore. As well as buying food at local mom-and-pop shops in Baltimore, that’s my hometown, and delivering it directly to health-care workers in the hospitals. … Finally, going to grocery stores, we’re doing $10,000 in Baltimore, $10,000 in New Jersey. We’re going to introduce ourselves to the Boston, New England area by doing $10,000 of groceries to impoverished neighborhoods out there. Hopefully, we can start that up in two weeks.”

Copeland’s certainly making an impact off the field and hopes to do the same on it with the Patriots this year.

After two years in Detroit, he played with the New York Jets the past two seasons. He had his best year in 2018, finishing with a career-high five sacks to go with 35 tackles in 16 games with 10 starts. Last year, he played in 12 games, finishing with a career-high 42 tackles to go with 1.5 sacks. He also has special teams experience.

This offseason, the Patriots lost linebackers Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts in free agency. Copeland has the opportunity to play and make an impact. He said his goal is to learn as much as possible with the Patriots in terms of the defense. He knows that versatility will go a long way.

“In terms of my own role here for me, I’m trying to go in and learn as much as possible,” Copeland said. “I’m obviously a linebacker body type, but I’ve realized what’s kept me in the league for this long and at the level I’ve played at is the fact that I can do multiple things at a high level.”

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