Looking at the rosters of New England and Philadelphia is like looking through an old yearbook.
There are some faces that you remember well, and there are others that you forgot were in your class. Some moved away. And some, uh, were cut and signed with another NFL team’s practice squad?
Maybe that parallel doesn’t quite fit. But there is some yearbook-like nostalgia when it comes to the two rosters set to meet in Minnesota for Super Bowl LII.
Several players will be revisiting their former employer there. Nine, when accounting for both 53-man rosters and 10-man practice squads, were once a Patriot or an Eagle.
And there’s time to flip back through those connections leading up to Sunday, Feb. 4.
LeGarrette Blount, running back – Forty-nine games over parts of four regular seasons, 2,917 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns over 677 carries, two Super Bowls, and a franchise-record setting 18 ground scores leading up to his final one – Blount doesn’t need much of a reintroduction. The veteran back landed with the Eagles on a one-year, $1.25 million deal this past May, and went on to tally 766 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards, and three total TDs over all 16 games in 2017. He’s found the end zone in both of Philadelphia’s playoff matchups thus far.
Chris Long, defensive end – The No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft had never played in a postseason game before he earned a Super Bowl LI ring with New England. Long appeared in all 16 regular-season contests for the Patriots, recording 35 tackles, four sacks, three pass deflections and a forced fumble. He’s appeared in every game on the slate for the Eagles this campaign, too, collecting five sacks and four forced fumbles. The 32-year-old, who penned a two-year, $4.5 million contract with Philadelphia, donated his first six regular-season game checks to fund scholarships in his native Charlottesville, Va., and his last 10 to “Pledge 10 for Tomorrow.”
Kamu Grugier-Hill, linebacker – Grugier-Hill’s stay in New England came to an end before the sixth-round Eastern Illinois product could make his regular-season debut. The Patriots waived the hybrid linebacker and core special-teamer to begin September 2016, and the Eagles claimed him the following day. Grugier-Hill went on to play 42 percent of the snaps in Philadelphia’s kicking game last year, and a team-high 75 percent this year. The 23-year-old has amassed 30 career tackles, a forced fumble, as well as four kickoffs with the Eagles.
D.J. Killings, cornerback – Killings signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in April, and entered into three preseason games to record seven tackles and two pass breakups prior to being waived-injured at the 53-man deadline. The Central Florida corner reverted to New England’s injured reserve thenceforth and was later released with a settlement. Killings has resided on Philadelphia’s practice squad since October.
Dion Lewis, running back – Before Lewis was a Patriot, an Indianapolis Colt or a Cleveland Brown, he was a fifth-round Eagles draft choice. Philadelphia selected the 5-foot-8, 195-pound Pittsburgh Panther back in 2011, and Lewis proceeded to play in 24 contests before being traded to the Browns in exchange for linebacker Emmanuel Acho in April 2013. He’d go 984 days between regular-season games from there. Lewis rushed 36 times for 171 yards, caught three passes for 21 yards, and returned 32 kickoffs for 702 yards during his brief tenure with the Eagles. Quarterback Nick Foles handed off to Lewis in Week 16 of 2012 for what’d be his second and final TD with the club.
Danny Amendola, wide receiver – Amendola, the Eagle? Yeah, that happened in January 2009 after the Texas Tech alum’s practice-squad contract with the Dallas Cowboys reached its conclusion. Philadelphia signed a then-23-year-old Amendola to their practice squad and retained him on a futures deal. Amendola would be waived following the 2009 preseason – during which he caught four passes for 53 yards and handled three carries for 23 yards – and re-signed to Philadelphia’s practice squad soon after. That was, until the Rams added him to their active roster two weeks later.
Eric Rowe, cornerback – Drafted No. 47 overall in 2015, Rowe spent just his rookie season with the Eagles. The safety-slash-corner out of Utah started five of his 16 appearances during it – including one versus the Patriots – finishing with 31 tackles, five deflections and an interception. Philadelphia sent Rowe to New England in September 2016 for what would become a conditional 2018 fourth-round draft choice. Rowe has started 10 of his 17 games across his two regular seasons with the Patriots, defending 10 passes and picking off one.
Jomal Wiltz, cornerback – The Eagles signed Wiltz as an undrafted free agent in May. The defensive back by way of Trinity Valley Community College and Iowa State saw action in three preseason games for Philadelphia, notching four tackles and a forced fumble, before being waived at the cut to 53. Wiltz signed to New England’s practice squad upon clearing waivers and was brought back on Sept. 25 after five days away.
Patrick Chung, safety – Chung returned to New England with a new jersey number and a new role in April 2014. The 2009 second-round pick wore No. 25 during his first stint – which saw him battle injuries and deep-field coverage angles – and he took No. 23 as his second quietly began on a one-year deal and a closer-to-the-line role. In between was a stop with the Eagles that saw Chung released 364 days into a three-year, $10 million pact. Chung fell out of favor in Philadelphia after 12 games, 10 starts, 59 tackles and three passes defended. And the Patriots can be glad he did.