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Examining the roster ties between Patriots, Browns ahead of Week 10

The list of past Patriots and past Browns set to revisit Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Cleveland Browns v New England Patriots Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The familiarity between the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns extends beyond coaches Bill Belichick, Billy Yates and Chad O’Shea on the sidelines.

Nine players between the active rosters and practice squads have been a member of both locker rooms.

Here’s a glance through those ties heading into Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET kickoff at Gillette Stadium.


Isaiah Zuber, wide receiver — The Browns announced the addition of Zuber, a member of the Patriots’ 2020 undrafted class, to the practice squad on Tuesday. The 24-year-old wideout by way of Kansas State and Mississippi State spent his rookie season on New England’s practice squad and appeared in four games as both a standard elevation and Covid-19 replacement. Those games featured two receptions for 29 yards and two carries for 21 yards. Zuber was waived at the 53-man roster deadline and logged two weeks in September on the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad prior to his release.

Hjalte Froholdt, guard — The Houston Texans had been awarded Froholdt off waivers last fall, and the 25-year-old interior lineman would be signed off the practice squad to the Browns’ active roster this fall. He’s since appeared in two games. Froholdt originally arrived in Foxborough in the fourth round of the 2019 draft at No. 118 overall out of Arkansas. The Denmark native spent his rookie season on injured reserve and played in eight games for the Patriots last season, logging 61 snaps on offense and 31 snaps on special teams.

Troy Hill, cornerback — In December 2015, Hill spent five days with the Patriots after being claimed off the wire from the Cincinnati Bengals. The undrafted rookie from Oregon would then be waived and claimed by the then-St. Louis Rams on New Year’s Eve. Hill, now 30 years old, has made 43 starts over the regular seasons since then. The slot corner signed a four-year, $24 million contract the Browns as free agency opened in March. His NFL run includes seven interceptions, three sacks, one forced fumble, three recoveries and three touchdowns. Hill twice hit home against Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow last Sunday.

Charley Hughlett, long snapper — Hughlett had three tours with the Patriots in 2014. The specialist by way of Central Florida initially signed that March, then returned on the practice squad that September and again that November. Hughlett has remained in Cleveland since the end of that campaign. The 31-year-old signed a six-year contract extension with Cleveland in 2017. Hughlett checks in as the second-longest-tenured member of the Browns. He’s snapped in 105 career games for the organization.


Brian Hoyer, quarterback — Hoyer signed a two-year deal with the Browns in 2013. It marked his fourth NFL stop after signing with New England as an undrafted rookie in 2009. And it saw the Michigan State product go 10-6 as the starter for Cleveland while going 299-of-534 passing for 3,941 yards with 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Hoyer now finds himself in his third stint with the team he entered the league with. The 36-year-old backup to rookie Mac Jones has appeared in two games this season for the Patriots, turning four attempts into three completions for 79 yards.

Garrett Gilbert, quarterback — Re-signed to New England’s practice squad at its formation in September, the Super Bowl XLIX champion has been with seven NFL clubs since landing in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. Count the Browns among the previous. Gilbert, an SMU transfer from Texas, signed with Cleveland after the Alliance of American Football ceased operations in April 2019. The 30-year-old made five relief appearances during his stay before agreeing to join the Dallas Cowboys’ 53-man roster off the Browns’ practice squad in October 2020.

Carl Davis, defensive tackle — The Iowa Hawkeye entered the league with the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of the 2015 draft, and was claimed off waivers by Cleveland in 2018. Davis recorded one assisted tackle through five contests in a Browns uniform. He’d be released entering 2019 after re-signing on a one-year deal. Time with the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars followed. Davis then agreed to terms with New England off Jacksonville’s scout team last October, yet he went on injured reserve with a concussion by the end of November. The 29-year-old has since played in every game this season, notching two starts, 10 tackles and his first career solo sack.

Daniel Ekuale, defensive tackle — Ekuale has twice served as a standard elevation for the Patriots since bringing the practice squad to 16 in September, totaling 31 snaps and one sack. Entering the league as part of Cleveland’s 2018 undrafted class, the former Washington State defensive tackle logged part of his rookie year on the practice squad and saw action in seven games as a sophomore. Ekuale was waived by the Browns to begin 2020. He proceeded to make five starts for Jacksonville and collect his first NFL sack. The 27-year-old was waived by the Jaguars in August.

Jamie Collins, linebacker — Collins started 30 games for the Browns after being acquired from the Patriots at the 2016 NFL trade deadline. A four-year, $50 million contract met the linebacker soon after. Collins amassed 135 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery while in Cleveland. He’d make his way back to the Patriots in the months after his release heading into the 2019 league year. And again after being released in September by the Detroit Lions only 16 games into a three-year, $30 million pact. Taken in the second round of the 2013 draft out of Southern Mississippi, Collins has appeared in 71 games as a Patriot, excluding playoffs. The 32-year-old has recorded one sack and one interception since his third chapter began.