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Maliek Collins on joining 49ers, playing for Kris Kocurek, replacing Arik Armstead

Mar 14, 2024 at 2:48 PM


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Today, the San Francisco 49ers officially announced the acquisition of Houston Texans defensive tackle Maliek Collins. Shortly after the announcement, the team made their new defensive lineman available to reporters via Zoom. One thing was evident: Collins has been eager to play under defensive line coach Kris Kocurek for a considerable time.

The two met at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2016, and those conversations in Indianapolis made Collins a fan of Kocurek.

When asked to explain what excites him about Kocurek, Collins responded, "It was just his passion that he brings to the game, how he's all about getting a dub, and he wants to [have] the most productive defensive line, and he wants to be number one in everything. That's something that I want to come in, I want to contribute to, and I'm excited to be coached and coach hard."

Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans was the one to deliver the news of the trade to Collins, informing the defensive lineman of the move on Wednesday.

"It kind of happened fast," Collins admits. "You can't really dwell on anything. You just move forward. Everything happens for a reason. I feel like being here, the love that you get, how people embrace you, I think this is the best situation that could have possibly happened."

Collins mentioned that he is fairly familiar with at least one of his new teammates. During the offseason, he trained with defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. He has also watched some of the other 49ers defensive linemen in the past.

When asked about replacing defensive tackle Arik Armstead, who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the new 49ers defensive lineman praised his predecessor.

"I don't think you replace a player like Arik Armstead, the person that he is in the community, the person that he is on the field. I don't think you replace that. I'm just here to add my skill set and bring who I am to the table."

Collins understands that he is joining a championship contender and is determined to contribute to his new team's quest for a Super Bowl victory, especially after the 49ers came close last season.

"It couldn't be a better situation, a story franchise like this. At this point in my career, I'm excited," Collins stated.

He added, "Just coming in and adding to the success it's already been had. This is the team that was in the Super Bowl last year. This is a team that was in the Super Bowl in 2019. Just seeing that success and seeing the NFC Championships and all that, I just want to come in and help bridge that gap to get us over the hump."

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