Familiar AFC East faces will meet again when the New England Patriots visit the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park on Sunday.
Four former Patriots reside on Buffalo’s side of the unbeatens – if excluding the coaching likes of Brian Daboll and Ryan Wendell – while two former Bills reside on New England’s side.
Here’s a rundown of the roster connections leading up to the 1 p.m. ET kickoff at New Era Field.
Lee Smith, tight end – Smith entered the league as a fifth-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft. The blocking tight end out of Marshall would be waived by New England at the roster cutdown that September, but Smith would be claimed off waivers shortly thereafter. The 31-year-old remained in Buffalo through 2014 before accruing four seasons with the Oakland Raiders. Smith revisited the Bills on a three-year deal this spring. He’s caught 57 passes for 400 yards and seven touchdowns through 110 career games.
Conor McDermott, offensive tackle – The final selection in New England’s four-man draft class of 2017, McDermott would be waived and claimed by Buffalo that Labor Day weekend. The 6-foot-8, 305-pound UCLA product went on to appear in eight contests through his initial two years with the Bills, and has been inactive through the initial three weeks of 2019. Now 26, McDermott has seen 23 snaps on offense and 38 on special teams over the course of his post-preseason stay with Buffalo.
LaAdrian Waddle, offensive tackle – Waddle suffered a torn quad in August and will spend the duration of 2019 on injured reserve. The swing tackle had signed a one-year deal worth $2 million in March after appearing in 31 games for the Patriots over the previous four regular seasons. New England originally claimed Waddle, a Texas Tech Red Raider, off the waiver wire from the Detroit Lions in December 2015. Waddle started eight games, including postseason play, over the last two campaigns.
Corey Bojorquez, punter – A tryout at rookie minicamp last spring, Bojorquez would never be tried out in a preseason game for New England. The right-footed undrafted free agent by way of Cerritos College and New Mexico would instead be claimed off waivers by Buffalo at the roster deadline. Bojorquez saw work in eight games in 2018 before going to injured reserve, and has punted 15 times for an average of 41.9 yards with a handful falling inside the opposing 20-yard line this September.
Marshall Newhouse, offensive tackle – Newhouse arrived in Foxborough only a week ago, and after making 72 starts over stops with seven teams. One of those teams was Buffalo. The Bills signed the 30-year-old Newhouse in March of 2018, and the TCU Horned Frog would check into three games for the organization that fall before being traded to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 2021 seventh-round draft pick. Newhouse has started at both right and left tackle during his short time with the Patriots.
Stephon Gilmore, cornerback – The first-team All-Pro from a year ago was once the top selection in Buffalo’s 2012 draft. Gilmore would log five seasons with the Bills, with Pro Bowl honors capping off his final one, before agreeing to terms with his former divisional rival on a five-year, $65 million contract as a free agent in 2017. Gilmore has started every game he’s entered since then for the Patriots, intercepting seven passes from September on into February. The South Carolina alum scored his initial NFL touchdown earlier this month.