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Examining the roster ties between Patriots, Panthers ahead of preseason Week 2

Carolina’s 90-man roster includes three former Patriots.

NFL: AUG 27 Preseason - Steelers at Panthers Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The roster connections between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers flow one direction this August.

Head coach Matt Rhule’s locker room, now standing at the 85-man threshold, includes three players who made a previous stop in Foxborough before this week’s set of joint practices. Head coach Bill Belichick’s locker room, on the other hand, includes no player who made a previous stop in Charlotte.

And then there’s Panthers assistant defensive line coach Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton, who finished his 108-game NFL career with the Patriots in the spring and summer of 2016.

But here’s a glance through the active names leading up to Friday’s 7 p.m. ET kickoff at Gillette Stadium.


Ryan Izzo, tight end — The final selection in New England’s 2018 draft class, Izzo arrived in the seventh round at No. 250 overall. The tight end out of Florida State spent his initial regular season on injured reserve before starting 16 of his 18 appearances over the next two years. On 29 targets, he caught 19 passes for 313 yards and one touchdown. The Patriots traded Izzo to general manager Nick Caserio’s Houston Texans in exchange for a seventh-round draft choice in March 2021. Tours with the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans have been taken since then for the 26-year-old Izzo. He joined the Panthers’ depth chart, which has been thinned by injuries in training camp, last Thursday.

Frank Herron, defensive end — New England’s 2018 undrafted class included Herron, who saw 52 defensive downs during his rookie preseason before being waived at the cutdown to 53. The defensive lineman by way of LSU spent parts of two weeks on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad from there and returned to his previous organization by October. Herron earned a Super Bowl LIII ring while on the Patriots’ scout team. He was waived in May 2019. Carolina marks his sixth different NFL club, with Herron having first agreed to terms one spring ago. The 28-year-old resided on the practice squad for the majority of 2021, recording one tackle in the finale as an Covid-19 elevation.

Duke Dawson, cornerback — The Panthers signed the 26-year-old Dawson following a workout in July. Dawson, whom the Patriots traded up for in the second round of the 2018 draft at No. 56 overall, began his rookie year on injured reserve due to a hamstring issue. Upon returning, he remained inactive through Super Bowl LIII. The Florida Gators product was traded to the Denver Broncos leading up to the 2019 NFL roster deadline as sixth- and seventh-round picks were swapped. Dawson went on to appear in 26 games, starting four, with Denver. A torn ACL in 2020 gave way to stints on injured reserve and physically unable to perform before the cornerback finished last campaign on the practice squad. Dawson has totaled 27 tackles, one fumble recovery and two pass deflections in through 414 snaps on defense and 182 snaps on special teams. He had a diving interception in his Carolina preseason debut.