MOBILE, Alabama -- Hue Jackson and his coaches were going through a pre-Senior Bowl walkthrough Monday when Jamie Collins Sr. arrived for an impromptu visit.
It was late January and hours away from Collins' hometown of McCall Creek, Mississippi, but the Pro Bowl linebacker was passing through and wanted to see his coaches, including a new-look defensive staff led by coordinator Gregg Williams.
The gesture meant a lot to Jackson, who called Collins' decision to agree to a four-year extension with the Browns nothing short of "huge."
"It says the relationship is strong," Jackson said Tuesday after his first of three practices leading the South team. "For him to be heading to where he needed to go and say, oh, coach I want to come see you and meet Coach Williams and the rest of the staff, I think that says a lot. He's in it all the way and I think that's the way we have to be as we move forward."
Jackson called the signing important for a Browns organization that vowed earlier this month to retain the talent from its own roster and keep them in a Cleveland uniform during the prime years of their career. Though he played in just eight games for the Browns after being traded from New England, Collins showed his coaches everything they'd seen -- and more -- from his three-plus successful seasons with the Patriots.
Collins did more than just compile 69 tackles during the second half of the season. He fit in quickly in a Browns locker room that remained upbeat amidst a string of 14 consecutive losses.
"He's been outstanding," Jackson said. "Jamie's not a big rah-rah guy. He's a do your job, come to work everyday, blue collar, work hard, but I know it's in there. I think now that he's gonna start with us from the start to the end. I think we're gonna see a lot of those leadership qualities come out.
"Last year was a tough year but I think our guys fought. And I think they knew what we did was right and how we did it and I think they know we can continue to add talent on our football team as we continue to move forward and I think Jamie Collins signals that."
Collins is the second Browns defensive player in recent months to sign a contract extension. Defensive back Jamar Taylor, who was similarly acquired via trade, signed a three-year deal in December, giving Cleveland two core players entering their prime to place alongside young, promising players in Christian Kirksey, Danny Shelton, Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib and Pro Bowl veteran defensive back Joe Haden.
They'll all be part of a new-look defense coordinated by Williams, who promised a number of different looks and formations to get the best out of his personnel -- Collins very much included.
"There's a lot of things we know he can do and we want to give him the opportunity to do that," Jackson said. "Coach Williams has a very diverse system that's going to put him in a lot different places to make plays for us so i think Jamie is up for that."