The list of connections between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans is a fairly long one.
And that shouldn’t serve as much of a surprise.
Heading into Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET kickoff at Nissan Stadium, Titans general manager Jon Robinson’s coaching staff includes fellow names from Patriots past ranging from head coach Mike Vrabel, to defensive coordinator Dean Pees, to inside linebackers coach Tyrone McKenzie.
Then there’s the Tennessee roster.
Five members of the 53 in Nashville once resided in Foxborough, and there is a sixth if accounting for the Titans’ practice squad.
Each of whom owns at least one Super Bowl ring from their respective Patriots tenures.
Here’s a glance back through those tenures ahead of Week 10.
Dion Lewis, running back – One of three futures signings announced by the Patriots on Dec. 31, 2014, Lewis hadn’t appeared in a game in two regular seasons. The 5-foot-8, 195-pounder by way of the University of Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cleveland Browns and briefly the Indianapolis Colts would go on to appear in 30 for New England. Lewis amassed 13 touchdowns and 2,109 yards from scrimmage on 378 offensive touches over that span – and ran a kickoff back for six as well. He tacked on another TD return in postseason play, along with ones both rushing and receiving. Lewis departed to Tennessee on a four-year, $19.8 million pact as free agency opened in March. He logged his second touchdown of the season on Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys.
Josh Kline, guard – Originally entering the league in April 2013, Kline received $14,000 guaranteed from New England as an undrafted free agent. The guard via Kent State was waived at the 53-man cutdown that fall, yet remained in the fold on the practice squad, riding up and down on the merry-go-round to finish his rookie season with seven games and one start under his belt. By the end of 2014, Kline had started an additional four games and played in a dozen. And by 2015, he found himself a full-time Patriots starter. Kline played 1,021 of a possible 1,022 offensive snaps for Tennessee in 2017. He’s started all 38 Titans contests he’s appeared in since being claimed off waivers in September 2016.
Jamil Douglas, guard – With his fifth organization since arriving as a Miami Dolphins fourth-round pick in 2014, Douglas joined New England’s practice squad in October 2016 and remained there through Super Bowl LI. The Arizona State Sun Devil, who accrued 17 games and six starts while with Miami, re-upped with the Patriots on a futures contract after that campaign but was waived on Labor Day weekend of 2017. The Titans signed Douglas to the practice squad last month after the 26-year-old made stops with both the Atlanta Falcons and Colts.
Darius Kilgo, defensive tackle – Kilgo has twice been part of preparations for the Patriots since the 2018 season began. The 6-foot-3, 319-pound defensive tackle, who signed a futures contract with the Houston Texans in January, was on the Texans’ practice squad for Week 1 and now finds himself on Tennessee’s active roster. A former Denver Broncos sixth-round draft choice out of Maryland, Kilgo was claimed off waivers by the Patriots in November 2016. He’d go between New England’s 53-man roster and scout team that year, and was waived following the 2017 preseason. Kilgo notched his first tackle of the year in Week 9.
Malcolm Butler, cornerback – No SparkNotes version is needed when it comes to the former rookie-minicamp invite from West Alabama and Hinds Community College. Butler was a story from the 2014 preseason on through Super Bowl LII in February, and signed with Tennessee on a five-year deal worth $61.25 million a month later. “It seems like it all went so fast,” Butler said during his introductory Titans press conference. “It seems like I was just in New England on a two-day tryout yesterday. And it just all goes so fast. I’ve worked so hard for this.” Butler’s coverage has been charged with 618 yards and seven touchdowns this season, according to Pro Football FOcus, with two scores coming Monday opposite Dallas’ Amari Cooper and Allen Hurns.
Logan Ryan, cornerback – The 2013 Patriots third-round pick out of Rutgers left for Tennessee on a three-year, $30 million pact in early 2017. Over the four years prior, Ryan had checked into every game for New England and started a playoff-including 45 of them. The two-time Super Bowl champion finished his Patriots stay having amassed 243 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, 41 pass deflections, 13 interceptions and a touchdown. Ryan, now 27, has started 23 games in the Titans’ secondary since then.
Brian Schwenke, guard – Schwenke, a member of the Titans’ 2013 draft class, started 30 of his 57 games for the team that selected him No. 107 overall. The interior lineman out of Cal joined the Colts after 2016, yet returned to the Titans following roster cutdowns. Schwenke later signed with the Patriots as training camp got underway this July. He was active for three games before being placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
Jason McCourty, cornerback – A familiar face for reasons other than his eight years in Tennessee, McCourty’s NFL résumé nevertheless began there. Drafted in the sixth round out of Rutgers back in 2009, McCourty went on to tally 90 starts, 496 tackles, one sack, six forced fumbles and 13 interceptions as a Titan. The longtime captain was released prior to 2017, and was acquired by New England from the Cleveland Browns in a swap of late-rounders this spring. McCourty has since started each of the last seven games alongside his identical twin, Devin, in the Patriots’ defensive backfield.