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Examining the roster ties between Patriots, Dolphins

Familiar faces will revisit their former team on New Year’s Day.

In addition to Brian Daboll and Shawn Jefferson on the coaching staffs, familiar names also reside on the rosters of the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

With the two sides meeting one another twice each regular season, and growing well-acquainted with their opposition’s personnel through the offseason, that is expected. But leading up to this Sunday’s regular-season finale at Hard Rock Stadium, the list of ex-Patriots and ex-Dolphins set to revisit their former team on the field isn’t as long as it has been in years past.

The current connections between New England and Miami do, however, include three players on the 53-man rosters, three on the practice squads and one on injured reserve.

Here’s a closer glance leading up to the 1 p.m. ET kickoff.


Da’Ron Brown, wide receiver After spending his rookie season on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad, Brown joined New England’s in late September. The 2015 seventh-round pick by way of Northern Illinois’ stay would be brief, though, as the Patriots released him at the start of October. Brown spent one week on the New York Giants’ practice squad in November before signing onto the Dolphins’ in December.

Trevor Reilly, linebacker – Three seasons into his NFL career, Reilly now finds himself on his third AFC East team. A New York Jets seventh-round selection in 2014, the Utah product spent two campaigns in East Rutherford before being released from injured reserve with a settlement early this September. Reilly would trek up to Foxborough a month later, signing to the Patriots’ practice squad and going on to collect three practice player of the week honors from there. But two weeks ago, the 28-year-old elected to depart from New England’s 10-man scout team and sign onto Miami’s active roster. He registered one tackle in his Dolphins debut last Saturday.


Chris Hogan, wide receiver – Hogan, who earned the nickname “7-Eleven” from former Dolphins running back Reggie Bush because he was “always open,” had his football journey chronicled on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” 2012. Miami marked the third NFL team for the former Penn State lacrosse standout. He signed a reserve-futures contract in January of that year and went on to catch four passes for 34 yards in the preseason before being waived and signed to the Dolphins’ practice squad. But after a little over a week, Hogan was released by Miami. Four seasons with the Buffalo Bills would follow before he signed an offer sheet with New England this past March. Hogan has caught 34 passes for a career-high 653 yards thus far into 2016, and has matched his career-best with four touchdowns.

Jamil Douglas, guard – Before Douglas signed to the Patriots’ practice squad, he first entered the league as a Dolphins fourth-round pick via Arizona State in the spring of 2015. Douglas appeared in every game for Miami during his rookie season, notching six starts, but began his second season on the practice squad and made one appearance before returning to that jurisdiction. The Dolphins later released the 6-foot-4, 308-pound interior lineman in October. He joined New England’s practice squad five days later.

Chris Barker, guard – Barker originally arrived as a Dolphins undrafted signing out of Nevada in 2013. Though after four preseason contests, the then-rookie was waived by Miami and proceeded to latch onto the Patriots’ practice squad. That is where Barker has spent the majority of his four campaigns since. The 28-year-old, who has provided depth at both guard and tackle, has played in five regular-season games for New England over that span.

Rob Ninkovich, defensive end – A New Orleans Saints fifth-round pick in 2006, Ninkovich was waived before the 2007 season and claimed by Miami. The Purdue Boilermaker would go on to appear in only five games over his two seasons with the Dolphins from there, recording a pair of tackles while also seeing time on the practice squad. The Saints ultimately signed Ninkovich back to their active roster off the Dolphins’ practice squad in December of 2008, though he would be waived again that July. Safe to say Ninkovich has landed on his feet since then. The 32-year-old has compiled 451 tackles, 46 sacks, five interceptions and 10 forced fumbles through the past eight go-rounds in New England.

Jonathan Freeny, linebacker – Freeny initially signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent by way of Rutgers in July of 2011, but made a stop with the Chicago Rush before returning to Miami on the practice squad that December. Over the three subsequent seasons, the linebacker established himself the Dolphins’ kicking game, logging work in 44 contests while accruing 41 tackles, one sack and a blocked punt. That area of expertise garnered attention from New England in March of 2015, when Freeny signed a one-year deal as a non-tendered free agent. He’d go on to sign a contract extension in the midst of his first year with the team, and signed another shortly before his second. Freeny was placed on injured reserve this October, but has totaled 60 tackles, one sack, one pass deflection and two forced fumbles over 18 games with New England. He served as a starter in 11 of them.