The roster connections between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots are few and far between heading into Sunday night’s matchup at Gillette Stadium.
No former Patriots will be on the field for the Packers, aside from Patrick Graham, now on the sideline as the defensive run-game coordinator and inside linebackers coach for Green Bay. Just one former Packer, meanwhile, will be on the field for New England.
That’d be Lawrence Guy.
And unlike Graham, he’ll be wearing pads and a helmet as the 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff gets underway.
The last of 10 picks made by Green Bay’s war room in 2011, Guy heard his name called in the seventh round at No. 233 overall. Offensive tackle Derrick Sherrod, wide receiver Randall Cobb, running back Alex Green, cornerback Davon House, tight end D.J. Williams, guard Caleb Schlauderaff, linebackers D.J. Smith and Ricky Elmore, as well as tight end Ryan Taylor all had theirs called by then.
But of whom, only Cobb, a second-rounder and eventual Pro Bowler, has gone on to appear in more NFL games than Guy since then.
Five other members of the class appeared in fewer than 30 during their careers. Seven in all were off NFL rosters by 2015.
That appeared to be the trajectory Guy was heading on.
He never played beyond the preseason for the team that drafted him.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive tackle out of Arizona State landed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion in August of his rookie year. He later joined the Indianapolis Colts’ 53-man roster after spending the first month of the 2012 regular season on the Packers’ practice squad.
And that’d be it for Guy’s stay in Green Bay. It spanned 537 days.
Guy proceeded to the Colts for his first 11 games since entering the league, recording 22 tackles, one sack and one batted pass in the process. He found himself claimed off waivers by the then-San Diego Chargers in 2013 and then by the Baltimore Ravens in 2014, where a rotational role and job security were earned and maintained.
That has carried over in Foxborough for Guy, who said on his introductory Patriots conference call that he’d “played down the whole line” and “been around the league a couple of times.”
He will now revisit his first NFL team as a member of his fifth.
Arriving in New England on a four-year deal worth up to $20 million March 2017, Guy started a career-high 15 games during the first leg of it. He set a new best with 58 tackles and added one sack while logging 582 snaps – eighth-most on the defense and second-most on the line behind Trey Flowers. A $500,000 bonus followed.
Guy has been in for 51 percent of the downs thus far into 2018.
The 28-year-old has started all eight games for the Patriots on a depth chart also featuring Danny Shelton, Malcom Brown and Adam Butler. He ranks eighth on the unit in combined tackles, trailing only linebackers, defensive backs and the aforementioned Flowers.
And as for Pro Football Focus’ leaguewide grades for interior defenders, Guy currently holds the seventh spot.
“I think Lawrence has done a really good job for us in a lot of ways on and off the field,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said during a late-September press conference. “Run, pass, technique, communication. Yeah, he’s been a really valuable player for us.
“He’s a hard guy to block and he’s big. He uses his hands well. Again, he’s an instinctive player. He recognizes blocking schemes and play action and things like that. Yeah, he’s done a good job. He works hard and he’s gotten a lot better.”
Sunday night will mark the first time that Guy, who has been active for games against 30 of the 32 teams, gets a chance to show those improvements versus Green Bay.