General manager Jon Robinson, director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort and head coach Mike Vrabel will return to familiar confines on Sunday. But there’s more familiarity to account for.
Here’s a glance through those ties ahead of the 1 p.m. ET kickoff at Gillette Stadium.
Cody Hollister, wide receiver — The Titans re-signed Hollister to the practice squad last week after the 27-year-old was released from injured reserve in August. He originally entered the NFL as part of the Patriots’ 2017 undrafted class alongside tight end and twin brother Jacob Hollister. The Arkansas product spent his rookie season on New England’s practice squad. He later received a Super Bowl lII ring as a sophomore while on the non-football injury list following back surgery. Hollister then joined the Titans during the 2019 offseason. His time in Nashville has included three receptions for 25 yards and a pair of tackles on special teams over seven appearances.
Mason Kinsey, wide receiver — After catching 50 career touchdown passes at Division III Berry College, Kinsey signed with Tennessee as an undrafted free agent in 2020. He proceeded to join the New England practice squad at its formation that September before being released in October and November. The 23-year-old wideout made his way back to the Titans on a futures contract as the calendar turned to 2021. Upon clearing waivers at the NFL roster deadline, Kinsey remained on the practice squad. He made his debut as a standard elevation versus the Kansas City Chiefs this year, seeing three snaps on offense and two snaps in the kicking game.
Corey Levin, guard — Originally a 2017 Titans sixth-round draft choice out of Chattanooga, Levin now finds himself back with the organization after being claimed off waivers in September. In between were stops with the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears and New York Jets, but also two days on the practice squad in Foxborough in early 2019. The 27-year-old guard has played in six contests as a reserve this campaign for Tennessee, logging 33 snaps on offense and 25 snaps on special teams. Those mark his initial snaps in the regular season since 2018. Levin was officially promoted to the 53-man roster in October.
Jordan Roos, guard — Roos signed to Tennessee’s practice squad in September after agreeing to terms with the 90-man roster in August. The 2017 undrafted arrival out of Purdue had been in the fold for three NFL clubs prior to then, beginning with the Seattle Seahawks and Las Vegas Raiders before spending four weeks on New England’s practice squad in the fall of 2020. The 28-year-old Roos has checked into 14 career games, all during his stay in Seattle.
John Simon, outside linebacker — After joining the Titans in July and rejoining in October, Simon signed to Tennessee’s 53-man roster on Tuesday. Prior to then, the veteran outside linebacker had appeared in 47 games and made 32 starts for the Patriots, including playoffs. The Super Bowl LIII champion recorded 118 tackles and 8.5 sacks over that span to go with one forced fumble and one interception. Simon, now 31, has also been a member of the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts since entering the league in the fourth round of the 2013 draft out of Ohio State, where his current head coach was once his position coach.
Kristian Wilkerson, wide receiver — After setting Southeast Missouri State programs records with 219 receptions for 3,540 yards and 33 touchdowns, Wilkerson signed with the Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2020. The rookie wideout joined the Patriots’ practice squad after clearing waivers that Labor Day weekend. His NFL debut followed last November. Wilkerson went on to sign a futures pact with New England and finished the 2021 preseason with 13 catches for 147 yards. The 24-year-old most recently served as a standard elevation against the Carolina Panthers.
Jonnu Smith, tight end — Tennessee filled out Smith’s draft card at pick No. 100 overall back in 2017. The tight end by way of Florida International proceeded to start 53 games during his tenure, totaling 114 receptions for 1,302 yards and 16 touchdowns while also turning six carries into 82 yards and a score. As free agency opened in March, Smith departed for New England on a four-year, $50 million deal featuring $31.25 million guaranteed. The 26-year-old has since started eight games in tandem with Hunter Henry, missing Week 10 due to a shoulder injury. He’s gathered 22 catches for 210 yards and one touchdown, also adding four rushes for 20 yards.
Niles Scott, defensive tackle — New England signed Scott to the practice squad on Thanksgiving after the 26-year-old defensive tackle logged three November weeks on Tennessee’s practice squad. Undrafted out of Frostburg State in 2018, Scott has also made stops with the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas Raiders. He recorded four tackles through six appearances during his rookie season.