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Dolphins at Patriots 2020 Week 1: Connections

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The NFL is a league full of connections, either from players or coaches facing previous teams, college teammates playing against each other, or hometown connections for players. Every game has these connections, and when it comes to the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, there seems to be a longer list of those connections. As we approach kickoff for the AFC East divisional rivals’ Week 1 showdown, we take a look at all of the connections.

The Dolphins have several former Patriots, starting with head coach Brian Flores, who started in New England as a scouting assistant in 2004, working his way through pro scout, coaching assistant, offensive assistant/special teams, defensive assistant, safeties coach, and finally linebackers coach from 2016 through 2018 when he was also the team’s de facto defensive coordinator. Miami’s defensive coordinator Josh Boyer worked as a coaching assistant for the Patriots from 2006 to 2008, then as their defensive backs coach from 2009 through 2011, and finally as their cornerbacks coach from 2012 through 2018. Dolphins tight end coach George Godsey was as an offensive assistant for the Patriots in 2011 and their tight ends coach from 2012 through 2013. Miami quality control coach Mike Judge was a defensive assistant in New England in 2005 and an offensive assistant in 2006.

On the executive side, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier was a scouting intern in 1994 and a regional scout from 1995 through 1999 in New England.

Dolphins linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft but was waived at the end of training camp that year. The Dolphins signed center Ted Karras and linebackers Elandon Roberts and Kyle Van Noy this year, all of whom spent the 2016 through 2019 seasons with the Patriots. Karras and Roberts were both sixth-round picks for New England in 2016, while Van Noy was acquired by the Patriots as an in-season trade from the Detroit Lions that year. Miami safety Eric Rowe played 2016 through 2018 for the Patriots, joining the Dolphins as a free agent in 2019. Linebacker Calvin Munson was on the Patriots’ practice squad from in 2018 and 2019 before the Dolphins poached him near the end of last year. And, finally, cornerback Jamal Perry spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the Patriots’ practice squad before signing with Miami as a free agent in 2019.

The list of former Dolphins working for the Patriots is not quite as long. New England Director of Skill Development Joe Kim was a pass-rush consultant in Miami from 2001 through 2006.

Former NFL teammate connections include Dolphins defensive tackle Zach Sieler (2018-2019), Patriots defensive back Justin Bethel (2019), and offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor (2018-2019) all with the Baltimore Ravens. Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (2014) and tackle Julien Davenport (2017-2019) were teammates with Patriots defensive end John Simon (2014-2016) with the Houston Texans. Fitzpatrick (2013) was also teammates with Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty (2009-2016) with the Tennessee Titans, Patriots kicker Nick Folk (2017) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2017-2018 for Fitzpatrick), and Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (2012-2016) with the Buffalo Bills (2009-2012 for Fitzpatrick); Miami defensive end Shaq Lawson (2016-2019) was also a teammate of Gilmore with the Bills.

Dolphins linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (2016-2019), Dolphins wide receiver Mack Hollins (2017-2019), Dolphins cornerback Jamal Perry (2017), Dolphins safety Eric Rowe (2015-2016), and Patriots defensive back Terrence Brooks (2016) were all members of the Philadelphia Eagles. Dolphins safety Clayton Fejeledem (2016-2019) was teammates with Patriots running back Rex Burkhead (2013-2016) for a year with the Cincinnati Bengals. Miami linebacker Kyle Van Noy (2014-2016) and Patriots linebacker Brandon Copeland (2015-2016) spent two years together with the Detroit Lions. Miami guard Ereck Flowers (2018) was with the Jacksonville Jaguars along with Patriots defensive back Cody Davis (2018-2019). Dolphins running back Jordan Howard (2016-2018) and Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer (2016) were teammates with the Chicago Bears. And, Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (2016-2018) and Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty (2017) were together on the Cleveland Browns.

In college, Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (2017-2019), Miami defensive tackle Raekwon Davis (2016-2019), New England linebacker Anfernee Jennings (2015-2019), and New England Special Teams Assistant Coach Joe Houston (2019 - as Special Teams Analyst) were all at Alabama. Dolphins punter Matt Haack (2013-2016) and Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry (2016-2018) were together at Arizona State. Miami fullback Chandler Cox (2015-2018), Miami cornerback Noah Igbinghene (2017-2019), Patriots defensive back Jonathan Jones (2012-2015), and Patriots quarterback Jarett Stidham (2017-2018) all played at Auburn. Dolphins guard Solomon Kindley (2015-2017), New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (2014-2017), and New England offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn (2014-2017) were all together at Georgia. Miami linebackers coach Anthony Campanile (2019) held the same position at Michigan while Patriots linebacker Josh Uche (2016-2019) played there. Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams (2015-2016) and Patriots fullback Jakob Johnson (2014-2017) were teammates at Tennessee. Miami linebacker Sam Eguavoen (2011-2014) and Patriots defensive back Cody Davis (2009-2012) both played at Texas Tech. And, Dolphins tackle Adam Pankey (2012-2016) and Patriots injured reserve offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste (2014-2018) were together at West Virginia.

Patriots offensive lineman Yodney Cajuste, placed on injured reserve this week, is a native of Miami, Florida and attended Miramar High School. Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson was born in Immokalee, Florida and attended Immokalee High School. Patriots running back Sony Michel was born in Orlando, Florida and attended American Heritage School in Plantation, Florida. Patriots running back James White is a native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale.

Finally, Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, and went to Suffield Academy just across the border in Suffield, Connecticut.