Perhaps nobody is appreciating the Patriots’ playoff run more than linebacker Jamie Collins, who went 624 days between meaningful football victories.
Collins is nearing the end of his rookie season, and is expected to be in the starting lineup when the Patriots face the Broncos Sunday in the AFC Championship game. A win would send the underdog Patriots to the Super Bowl for the eighth time in franchise history.
Playing in professional football’s ultimate game might have been a pipe dream for Collins, who suffered through an 0-12 season in 2012 while he was a senior at Southern Mississippi.
He played all 65 snaps against Indianapolis last weekend in the Patriots’ division-round victory, when the 24-year-old had the best game of his burgeoning career. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.