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Examining the roster ties between Patriots, 49ers

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There is some familiarity between two relatively unfamiliar teams.

While the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers haven’t met since 2012, the two sides do have familiarity.

That familiarity is more recent than the last encounter. It’s seen within the 53-man rosters and practice squads of New England and San Francisco, where five players in particular – three wide receivers, one defensive tackle and one safety – reside.

Those five have been both Patriots and 49ers. And with Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff at Levi’s Stadium edging closer, let’s revisit them.

SAN FRANCISCO

Chris Harper, wide receiver – Harper landed in Foxborough as an undrafted rookie via California in the spring of 2015. And as the summer turned to the fall, he went on to work between the team’s active roster and practice squad, finishing the regular season with one catch for six yards and three punt returns for 17 yards and a fumble over five contests. The Patriots waived the 5-foot-11, 185-pound target during the 53-man deadline this September, and he joined the 49ers’ practice squad two days later. Harper was promoted for San Francisco’s regular-season opener before returning to the club’s practice squad. He was again added to the active roster last week following the release of fellow former Patriots receiver Keshawn Martin, and has appeared in two contests.

Chris Jones, defensive tackle – Jones, who was waived by the Miami Dolphins last week, has since landed in San Francisco. Not all that long ago, however, the 26-year-old defensive lineman was in Foxborough. The Patriots claimed Jones from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in September of 2013, and from there, the Bowling Green product went on to amass 79 tackles and nine sacks over 28 games and 23 starts for New England through the next two seasons. Reportedly playing through a torn calf in Super Bowl XLIX, Jones spent all of 2015 on physically unable to perform and was waived by the Patriots in April.

Vinnie Sunseri, safety – After a pair of seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Sunseri signed by the Patriots prior to the start of training camp in July. The former fifth-rounder out of Alabama was later waived following the preseason and signed to New England’s practice squad during its formation. The Patriots released Sunseri from practice squad towards the end of October, and he signed to San Francisco’s 10-man roster one week later.

NEW ENGLAND

Chris Hogan, wide receiver – The Penn State lacrosse standout, with one year of Monmouth football under his belt, joined the 49ers as an undrafted rookie in July of 2011. Though after training camp and two preseason appearances, San Francisco waived Hogan that September. Hogan would go on to make stops with the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins before enjoying a four-year stay with the Buffalo Bills. That stay, of course, ended last March as the Patriots signed the well-traveled wideout to an offer sheet. Hogan is on pace to set a new career-high in receiving yards and match his season-best touchdown total. However, he has been ruled out for Sunday due to a back injury.

DeAndrew White, wide receiver – White cracked San Francisco’s active roster as an undrafted rookie in 2015, and went on to play in four regular-season contests. Along the way, the Alabama product caught two passes for 18 yards, returned six kickoffs for 142 yards and one punt for four yards. At the 53-man roster deadline, however, White’s time with the 49ers drew to a close. He signed to New England’s practice squad 11 days later.