The connections have changed since the New England Patriots last crossed paths with the Buffalo Bills in January.
Assistant offensive line coach Ryan Wendell remains on a staff that also previously featured Brian Daboll and Leonard Johnson. But between the active rosters, practice squads and reserve lists of the AFC East rivals, there are three players in the current fold who have been members of both locker rooms.
Here’s a glance through that shortlist of former Patriots and former Bills in the fold for Thursday’s 8:15 p.m. ET kickoff at Gillette Stadium.
Jake Kumerow, wide receiver — An ankle injury saw the 30-year-old Kumerow placed on injured reserve midway through November. He has appeared in 27 games across a pair of stints with the Bills, catching seven passes for 114 yards and one touchdown while logging 225 snaps on offense and 430 snaps on special teams. Originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2015, the Wisconsin-Whitewater product was released with an injury settlement two campaigns later before landing on New England’s practice squad. But Kumerow was released only two weeks in on the way to joining quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. A stop with the New Orleans Saints arrived in December 2020 for the veteran wideout. It did after he had been waived by the Bills team that ultimately re-signed him the following month.
Conor McDermott, offensive tackle — The final selection in the 2017 Patriots draft class returned last week. The organization signed McDermott off the New York Jets’ practice squad and to the 53-man roster amid attrition on the offensive line. He dressed on Thanksgiving night as New England’s only healthy swing tackle. Prior to then, McDermott had served as a standard elevation for both divisional matchups this fall. The 30-year-old bookend out of UCLA entered the NFL in sixth round at No. 211 overall, yet he was waived following his rookie preseason and claimed by Buffalo. McDermott spent parts of three years in Orchard Park while checking into eight games. He was later awarded to the Jets in the fall of 2019. During his tenure in East Rutherford, McDermott appeared in 35 games and made six starts while also catching a touchdown pass as an eligible tight end.
Tristan Vizcaino, kicker — The Patriots brought Vizcaino back for his third stop on the practice squad since its formation in September after he went 2-for-2 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points in his lone appearance for the Arizona Cardinals. New England had most recently released the 26-year-old kicker from the practice squad to begin November after prior tours in October and September. Vizcaino originally signed following a tryout at mandatory minicamp, but was waived at the roster deadline. Undrafted out of the University of Washington in 2018, he also been a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers, Bengals and Bills. Vizcaino was signed to the Buffalo practice squad in January 2021. His contract expired the following month. Over eight career games, Vizcaino stands 11-for-12 on field goals, 15-for-20 on extra points and with 18 touchbacks through 38 kickoffs.