There’s no such thing as hard feelings for the New England Patriots.

Okay, that might be a stretch, but there’s no denying that reunions have become common at One Patriot Place.

In Bill Belichick’s time as head coach, the Patriots have made a habit out of bringing players back after allowing them to explore options elsewhere. There are many different examples, which we will get into, but those players usually fall into a pair of categories. There are the guys who are just looking to stick, and sign anywhere there’s an opportunity. Then there are the guys who cash in, only to find themselves in need of a new home due to failing to live up to the expectations of big fat contracts.

J.C. Jackson falls into the latter category. The 27-year-old reportedly was traded to the Patriots on Wednesday following a disastrous stint with the Los Angeles Chargers.

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If he does find his way back onto the field in a Patriots uniform, Jackson will become the 29th man to have at least two separate stints with New England as an active game-day player since 2000, according to Patriots media relations’ Aaron Salkin, per Mike Reiss of ESPN. The list he’s hoping to join is a lengthy one.

Tully Banta-Cain (2003-2006, 2009-2010), Caleb Benenoch (2019, 2020), Martellus Bennett (2016, 2017), LeGarrette Blount (2013, 2014–16), Brandon Bolden (2012–17, 2019–21), Deion Branch (2002–05, 2010–12), Chad Brown (2005, 2007), Trent Brown (2018, 2021–23), Marcus Cannon (2011–19, 2022), Andre Carter (2011, 2013), Patrick Chung (2009–12, 2014–19), Thomas Clayton (2010, 2010), Mike Cloud (2003, 2005), Jamie Collins (2013–16, 2019, 2021–22), Jonathan Freeney (2015–16, 2017), Brian Hoyer (2009–11, 2017–18, 2020–22), Ted Karras (2016–19, 2021), Harvey Langi (2017, 2021–22), Steve Maneri (2010, 2014), Calvin Munson (2021, 2022-23), Jordan Richards (2015-17, 2019), Mike Rivera (2012, 2012), Guss Scott (2005, 2006), Donté Stallworth (2007, 2012), Maugaula Tuitele (2000-01, 2002), Kyle Van Noy (2016-2019, 2021), Ken Walter (2001-2003, 2006), Ben Watson (2004-09, 2019)

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You’re lying if you say you remember Maugaula Tuitele’s stints in New England, but viewing that list got us thinking. Who had the best second stints with the Patriots?

There are plenty of guys who returned and failed to live up to their first run (Andre Carter, Martellus Bennett, Donté Stallworth) and guys who were never that good in the first place (we won’t list them because that’s rude), but who came back better than ever? Let’s take a look.

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LeGarrette Blount (2014–16)
The Patriots initially acquired Blount during the 2013 NFL Draft in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

That deal wound up being a rousing success, as New England watched him rush for 772 yards and seven touchdowns during a brief one-year stint. He parlayed that success into a hefty contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers but was released after just 11 games. It took roughly the time of a flight from Pittsburgh to Providence, R.I. for him to return to New England for the stint everyone remembers him by.

Blount’s second stint with the Patriots lasted three seasons and ended with two Super Bowl rings. The bruising back led the NFL in touchdowns in 2016 and totaled 2,443 yards and 34 total touchdowns across 39 regular and postseason games.

Patrick Chung (2014–19)
There’s an argument to be made that Patrick Chung ushered in the new era of Patriots returns, taking just one year between stints in New England.

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Chung was a second-round pick of the Patriots but never really starred in his first stint, departing for the Philadelphia Eagles without a role left for him in New England. In that one season with Philly, a role opened up back in Foxboro, which he filled better than anyone has in Bill Belichick’s defense.

Chung essentially was the Patriots’ tight end eraser, and started on three Super Bowl-winning teams. He’s a member of the All-Dynasty team and lasted six seasons in his second stint, the longest of any player listed above.

Ted Karras (2021)
Ted Karras was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, leaving as a rotational player who started just 20 of his 60 games.

He made his return after just one season with the Miami Dolphins, starting 13-of-17 games and serving as one of the most valuable players during Mac Jones’ rookie season. He parlayed that success replacing Joe Thuney into a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. There’s only so much you can say about an offensive lineman, but Karras was about all the Patriots could have asked for.

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Jamie Collins (2019)
We’d like to make it clear we’re choosing Jamie Collins’ second stint. The one where he wore No. 58 and was once viewed as the Defensive Player of the Year favorite.

Collins’ first tenure in New England ended abruptly, as the Patriots traded him away to the Cleveland Browns in the middle of their 2016 Super Bowl run. He would toil away in Cleveland for a few years before coming available again in 2019. The Patriots signed him to join a defense with plenty of questions.

The results? Collins finished with three interceptions, three forced fumbles, 7.0 sacks and 10 tackles for loss for the NFL’s best defense. He’d return for another stint, but that one season in 2019 was his best with the Patriots.

Featured image via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images