No former members of the New England Patriots will revisit Gillette Stadium as Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, aside from strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash Jr., who spent 11 seasons with the organization.
But there is some semblance of familiarity on the other side of Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff.
A pair of past Cowboys players currently reside in the Patriots’ fold between the active roster and practice squad. Here’s a look through those one-sided ties.
Garrett Gilbert, quarterback — The quarterback by way of the Texas Longhorns and SMU Mustangs has been a part of seven NFL clubs since arriving in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. Count the Cowboys among them. Gilbert was signed to the Dallas 53-man roster off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad in October 2020 as a backup to Andy Dalton after Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury. Gilbert would make his first career start the next month versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. It saw the Alliance of American Football product go 21-of-38 passing for 243 yards with one touchdown to rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and one interception to safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. In what became a 23-19 defeat, he also rushed three times for 28 yards and was sacked twice. The Cowboys retained Gilbert as the page turned to 2021, and the former Gatorade National Player of the Year out of Lake Travis started the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game before being released at the league’s roster deadline in August. The Patriots signed Gilbert to the practice squad at its formation in September. It marked a return. Gilbert, now 30, had finished his rookie campaign on New England’s practice squad and earned a Super Bowl XLIX ring. He was waived and claimed by the Detroit Lions in June 2015 on the heels of quarterback Matt Flynn agreeing to terms.
Nick Folk, kicker — The Arizona Wildcats alum had his name called at No. 178 overall by the Cowboys in the 2007 NFL draft. A rookie Pro Bowl selection he would become from there. Folk kicked in a total of 46 games while with Dallas, going 64-of-81 on field goals with a long of 53 yards. He also went 131-of-131 on old-fashioned extra points. The Cowboys replaced Folk with Shaun Suisham in December 2009. Seven seasons with the New York Jets followed. As would four games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a tour with the Arizona Hotshots. Folk, who turns 37 in November, has since found his footing in Foxborough. He was twice named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for game-winning kicks of 50-plus yards last season and re-signed in March. After beginning the fall as a standard elevation from the practice squad, Folk achieved a franchise record of 36 field goals made in a row. And while that streak snapped from 56 yards away against Tampa Bay, the veteran specialist made good twice from 52 yards and knocked in the game-winning 21-yarder in the closing seconds last Sunday against the Houston Texans.