Familiar faces will be visiting Gillette Stadium for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on Sunday.
But that familiarity extends beyond a staff that includes Brian Flores as head coach, Josh Boyer as defensive coordinator and George Godsey overseeing the tight ends.
Nine former New England Patriots players hold spots on the 53-man roster and 16-man practice squad of the Miami Dolphins. Another ex-Patriot resides on injured reserve.
It’s a total that was added to in the final weeks of the 2019 regular season. The additions continued as free agency opened in March. Few subtractions followed by Labor Day weekend.
No player in New England’s current locker room, in contrast, was once part of Miami’s.
Here’s a glance through the roster ties heading into the AFC East opener.
Ted Karras, center – Selected by New England in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, Karras went on to appear in 60 games during his tenure along the offensive line. The Illinois product started 15 at center in the final year of his Patriots contract while earning a base salary of $720,000. And as an unrestricted free agent to begin the new league year, Karras reached a one-year, $3 million pact with the Dolphins. The 27-year-old was named a team captain entering 2020.
Nick Coe, defensive end – Coe joined Miami’s practice squad at its formation on Sept. 6. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound defensive lineman from Auburn entered the league in the spring as part of New England’s undrafted class. The Patriots waived Coe prior to the first official practice of training camp, and the 23-year-old free agent was hosted by the Dolphins for a workout the next week.
Kamu Grugier-Hill, linebacker – Drafted No. 208 overall by New England in 2016, Grugier-Hill would be waived before the start of his rookie regular season and claimed by the Philadelphia Eagles. Grugier-Hill proceeded to play in 59 games, including Super Bowl LII, while with Philadelphia. And in March, the 26-year-old linebacker out of Eastern Illinois reunited with his former Patriots position coach.
Calvin Munson, linebacker – Munson recorded 60 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble as an undrafted rookie with the New York Giants in 2017. He then signed to New England’s practice squad in the fall of 2018 and remained up until December 2019, when an opportunity to join Miami’s 53-man roster presented itself. Munson, 25, started two games for the defense to close this past season while notching seven tackles.
Kyle Van Noy, linebacker – Van Noy started 52 games between his regular seasons and postseasons with New England after being acquired from the Detroit Lions in a swap of sixth- and seventh-rounders. Two Super Bowl rings arrived along the way for pick No. 40 overall in the 2014 draft. Van Noy registered a career-high 6.5 sacks during his final year in a Patriots uniform before penning a four-year, $51.5 million contract with Flores and the Dolphins. Van Noy begins his first campaign in Miami Gardens as a team captain.
Elandon Roberts, linebacker – A first-time Patriots captain last year, Roberts now is a first-time Dolphins captain this year. The 2016 sixth-round pick by way of Morgan State and Houston signed a one-year, $2 million deal as a free agent in March. Roberts did so having tallied north of 200 tackles to go with four sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery while with the Patriots. The downhill linebacker turned his initial reception as a fullback into a 38-yard touchdown against the Dolphins in 2019.
Jamal Perry, cornerback – Formerly Jomal Wiltz, Perry has made the Miami 53-man roster out of training camp in consecutive years after spending two years on New England’s practice squad. In 2019, the undrafted Iowa State cornerback checked in for the first 14 games of his NFL career and started six. Perry totaled 58 tackles and one interception in the process.
Ken Webster, cornerback – Webster begins 2020 on Miami’s practice squad after appearing in eight games as a rookie. Those games brought five starts, 19 tackles and one pass deflection before Webster was placed on injured reserve. The Dolphins had claimed the ex-Mississippi corner off waivers from the Patriots at the roster deadline last summer. Webster, at No. 252 overall, marked the final pick in New England’s 2019 draft.
Nate Brooks, cornerback – Brooks, who was waived by Miami with the injury designation on Labor Day weekend, has since reverted to the team’s injured reserve. Originally entering the league undrafted out of North Texas in 2019, Brooks resided on New England’s practice squad from September until December. The corner agreed to join Miami’s 53-man roster at that juncture, and saw action in three contests to close the year while starting two.
Eric Rowe, safety – Rowe transitioned from cornerback to safety for the Dolphins midway through 2019, and signed a three-year, $18 million extension by the end of it. He eclipsed 1,000 defensive snaps along the way while logging 81 tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown. That touchdown transpired versus New England, whom Rowe had spent the prior three seasons with while winning two Super Bowls. The Patriots traded for the former Utah Ute and Philadelphia Eagle in exchange for a conditional fourth-round draft choice in 2016.
Brandon Bolden, running back – Bolden was among eight Patriots players to opt out of the upcoming season due to Covid-19 concerns. The 30-year-old all-purpose back has spent all but one season of his NFL career with the organization that signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss. That season came in 2018 after he was released by New England at the roster deadline and agreed to terms with Miami three days later. Bolden went on to appear in all 16 games for the Dolphins during his stay, recording a pair of touchdowns and a pair of tackles in a 34-33 December upset over the Patriots. He returned to Foxborough on a two-year contract in the spring of 2019.