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Examining the roster ties between Patriots, Eagles ahead of preseason Week 2

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There’s five familiar names apiece for Thursday night’s meeting between New England and Philadelphia.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount or Danny Amendola to account for this time around.

But the list of roster connections between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles remains a lengthy one heading into Thursday night’s preseason encounter at Gillette Stadium, now over six months removed from the Super Bowl LII meeting at U.S. Bank Stadium.

As things stand, there’s five apiece.

Here’s a glance through the former Patriots and Eagles set to reconvene for the 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

PHILADELPHIA

Kamar Aiken, wide receiver – Aiken, who signed with Philadlephia this June, stopped by Foxborough midway through 2012 and netted two promotions to the 53-man roster from the practice squad, appearing in one game. Aiken was waived by the Patriots during the 2013 preseason, and the 29-year-old out of Central Florida has caught 143 passes for 1,672 yards and nine touchdowns over the past four campaigns between the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens.

DeAndre Carter, wide receiver – The Eagles agreed to terms with Carter as training camp got underway in July. The Sacramento State product, who earned FCS Wide Receiver of the Year honors during his senior year, signed to the Patriots’ practice squad in December 2015. Carter proceeded to have two stints on the scout team before penning a futures contract in January 2016. The Patriots waived Carter during the cut to 53 players after a preseason in which he collected four passes for 26 yards and a touchdown. The 5-foot-8, 190-pound wideout-slash-returner spent 2017 on the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad.

Chris Long, defensive end – Long played in all 16 games for the Patriots on a one-year pact in 2016, accruing 35 tackles, four sacks, three pass breakups and a Super Bowl LI ring. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft would make it two rings in a row by helping defeat New England in February, capping off a season in which he’d collected five sacks and jarred four forced fumbles. “He probably made a good decision,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said of the 33-year-old Long in late January. “He probably did. Not that it wouldn’t have worked here – I’m not saying that. Whether it would’ve worked out here, I don’t know. But it certainly has worked out for him there, just like it worked out for him last year.”

Kamu Grugier-Hill, linebacker – The second-most well-known Eastern Illinois Panther the Patriots have drafted over the last five years, Grugier-Hill arrived as a sixth-round pick back in 2016. The hybrid linebacker would be let go after his rookie preseason, and the Eagles claimed Grugier-Hill off waivers the following day. He played three-quarters of Philadelphia’s special-teams snaps in 2017, finishing his second NFL tour with 22 tackles, a blocked punt and four kickoffs for 248 yards. Grugier-Hill led the Eagles with six tackles versus the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, recording two for loss over 32 defensive downs.

D.J. Killings, cornerback – Part of the Patriots’ 2017 undrafted class, Killings made seven tackles and two pass breakups through three preseason appearances last summer. The Central Florida corner was later waived with the injury designation and reverted to New England’s injured reserve before reaching a settlement. The Eagles signed Killings to the practice squad in October, where he stayed for the duration of the year. Killings tallied one tackle on defense and another in the kicking game in Philadelphia’s preseason opener.

NEW ENGLAND

Paul Turner, wide receiver – As an Eagles undrafted rookie in 2016, Turner led the NFL with 17 preseason receptions for 165 yards and also returned a punt for a 71-yard touchdown. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said after the team’s exhibition finale. “He’s making it hard on us.” Turner would be waived two days after cut to 53, spending 10 weeks on the Philadelphia practice squad before being elevated to the active roster. He checked into four regular-season games, starting two and snaring nine passes for 126 yards. But a fractured scapula saw Turner released with an injury settlement ahead of the 2017 season. The Patriots signed the 25-year-old, last with the New Orleans Saints, during the first week of training camp.

Matt Tobin, offensive tackle – Tobin, who signed a one-year deal with New England a week into the 2018 league year, originally broke in as an Eagles undrafted rookie in April 2013. The Iowa Hawkeye would start 21 games across four seasons with Philadelphia, including a career-high 13 in 2016. Tobin played in 41 games altogether during his tenure with the Eagles. He was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in a swap of fifth- and seventh-round picks last August.

Eric Rowe, cornerback – The No. 47 overall selection in the 2015 draft, Rowe started five games for the Eagles during his rookie season before being traded to the Patriots for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. That pick would later be sent to the Miami Dolphins, who took Arizona State’s Kalen Ballage, after the Eagles acquired a fellow running back in Jay Ajayi. As for Rowe, the Utah Ute has started 10 contests over two seasons with New England, totaling 41 tackles, 10 deflections and one interception. Rowe is competing with veteran Jason McCourty, among others, for the top outside spot opposite Stephon Gilmore.

Jomal Wiltz, cornerback – The Patriots signed Wiltz to the practice squad last September, and after five days as a free agent, the rookie via Trinity Valley and Iowa State returned and remained into February. Wiltz had originally entered the league with the Eagles in the spring of 2017. He played in three exhibition games for Philadelphia that August, forcing a fumble and earning four tackles before being waived at the 53-man deadline.

Patrick Chung, safety – The Patriots brought back Chung, the team’s top draft choice in 2009, 364 days after the Oregon Duck had signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Eagles. And much has changed since April 2014 – including Chung’s role. “We got it right the second time,” Belichick said of Chung this winter, later calling the strong safety “one of the best players in the league.” Chung has played in 63 of a possible 64 regular-season games since rejoining the Patriots, starting 56. He’s averaged 86 tackles per year over that span for New England, accumulating three sacks, three interceptions and 29 deflections.