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Examining the roster ties between Patriots, Steelers

Three players will revisit their onetime team Sunday at Heinz Field.

When the New England Patriots visit the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday, three players will be revisiting their onetime team.

Their respective stays were, in a word, brief. For one, the contract lasted two days. For another, it lasted two weeks. And for another, it lasted 11 games.

But as the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff edges near, here’s a closer look at the roster connections between New England and Pittsburgh.


LeGarrette Blount, running back – After rushing for 772 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns on 153 carries in 2013, Blount left Foxborough for Pittsburgh on a two-year pact. His tenure with the Steelers would last only 11 games, however, as after not earning a carry behind Le’Veon Bell in a 27-24 win over the Tennessee Titans, Blount headed off the field early. The Steelers waived Blount the next day, and the 6-foot, 250-pound back returned to the Patriots just three days later. Since then, Blount has accumulated 1,423 yards and 15 touchdowns on 344 carries in the regular season, as well as 47 carries for 189 yards, three touchdowns and a Super Bowl ring in the postseason. Sunday will mark Blount’s first game versus Pittsburgh since his departure, as he missed the 2015 opener while serving a one-game suspension.


L.J. Fort, linebacker – The well-traveled special-teamer spent two weeks of training camp with the Patriots in 2015. Signed on Aug. 4, Fort played 17 snaps in that summer’s preseason opener before being released on Aug. 18. He signed with the Steelers a day after his Patriots exit, and was promoted to Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster late in the 2015 regular season. Fort has appeared in six games for the Steelers this campaign, notching four tackles.

Xavier Grimble, tight end – Grimble has made five stops with four organizations since going undrafted out of USC in 2014. The Patriots were one of them. Grimble signed to New England’s practice squad on Nov. 26, 2014, although after two days, the then-rookie tight end was released from the 10-man roster. Grimble signed a reserve-futures contract with the Steelers this past January, and he’s since played in six games with one start to catch six passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.