After the stunning trade that sent star linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns last October, his New England Patriots teammates said all the right things:
The NFL is a business. We wish him well. We’re focused on this week.
But, as “America’s Game: 2016 Patriots” revealed, the Collins trade sent shockwaves through the Patriots’ locker room. The players, who’d watched Collins earn Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors in 2015, were not happy.
“A lot of guys didn’t agree with it,” running back LeGarrette Blount said in the documentary, which premiered Wednesday night on NFL Network. “All guys didn’t agree with it. I don’t think nobody did.”
“It’s kind of like, ‘Holy (expletive),’ ” wide receiver Julian Edelman added. “I can’t believe that just happened.”
As surprising as it was at the time, the deal wound up working out for both parties. The Patriots lost their first game after the trade — a 31-24 nailbiter against the Seattle Seahawks — but went undefeated the rest of the way, reeling off 10 consecutive victories en route to their fifth Super Bowl title.
And while Collins has experienced just one win in a Browns uniform, he signed a big-money contract extension that will pay him $50 million over the next four years. The 27-year-old will serve as one of five captains this season on a Cleveland team that appears to be on the rise after its dreadful 1-15 finish in 2016.
Thumbnail photo via Scott R. Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images
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