When the Cincinnati Bengals visit Gillette Stadium on Christmas Eve, some will revisit their previous stomping grounds.
Three former New England Patriots reside on the active roster led by head coach Zac Taylor. But the ties to the reigning AFC champions flow both directions, as a pair of past Bengals reside on the present practice squad in Foxborough.
Here’s a look through the on-field familiarity leading up to Saturday’s 1 p.m. ET kickoff.
Devin Asiasi, tight end — The Bengals were awarded Asiasi off waivers from the Patriots after the NFL’s claiming period expired at noon on the final day of August. The 2020 third-round draft choice had been among New England’s moves down from an 80-man roster to a 53-man roster the afternoon prior. Asiasi saw action in 10 games across two campions with his initial NFL organization. The 25-year-old by way of Michigan and UCLA caught two passes for 39 yards and one touchdown while playing 225 snaps on offense over that span. He has since appeared in 11 games for Cincinnati, drawing two targets and returning one kickoff.
Ted Karras, center — Upon reconvening with the Patriots on a one-year, $3 million pact, Karras started 13 games and played in all 17 between right guard, left guard and center. A three-year, $18 million contract with the Bengals followed for the 2016 sixth-round pick out of Illinois. “He’s a true position-flex guy where he’s been productive at all three spots on the inside,” Cincinnati offensive line coach Frank Pollack said of the 29-year-old in March. “Not a center that can get you out of a game at guard, or a guard that can be an emergency center, but a starter at all three spots.” Karras, a 2022 team captain, has started every game at the pivot. The two-time Super Bowl champion and former Miami Dolphins ironman has stayed in for 951 out of 958 offensive downs.
Mike Hilton, cornerback — Undrafted in 2016, Hilton spent a week on New England’s practice squad during his rookie fall before being released. “A good football player,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said of the Ole Miss product two years later. “Instinctive, smart, really tough, runs well. He’s got good quickness.” Hilton has since gone from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary to the one in Cincinnati. The 28-year-old’s NFL run includes 88 games and 355 tackles, nine interceptions and one touchdown, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery, plus 9.5 sacks. Hilton has started a dozen contests over the past set of seasons with the Bengals. He was inactive last week due to a knee injury that kept him sidelined for three straight practices.
Scotty Washington, tight end — The Patriots signed Washington to the practice squad midway through September. The 25-year-old entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest in 2020. He spent his initial two seasons on the Bengals’ practice squad before being waived ahead of the 80-man roster deadline to conclude the summer. A converted wide receiver, Washington caught 110 passes for 1,676 yards and 13 touchdowns across 43 games in the ACC. He scored seven touchdowns through eight appearances as a Demon Deacons redshirt senior before his tenure ended with an ankle injury.
Tristan Vizcaino, kicker — Undrafted out of the University of Washington in 2018, Vizcaino reached a futures contract with the Bengals at the conclusion of his rookie season. He was waived that August and returned the next August only to be part of the same transaction. The 26-year-old kicker has stepped in for nine NFL games beyond the preseason, however, with his most recent arriving as a standard elevation and kickoff specialist this December. Vizcaino first signed with the Patriots after attending mandatory minicamp on a tryout in June. Standing 11-for-12 on field goals and 15-for-20 on extra points in his career, his 2022 has featured multiple tours on the practice squad as well as a week on the Arizona Cardinals’ 53-man roster.