The New England Patriots will revisit familiar faces at Acrisure Stadium on Sunday.
Senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores is among them. But beyond the four-time Super Bowl champion, whose tenure in Foxborough spanned from 2008 to 2018, there is a Pittsburgh Steelers active roster that also includes three past Patriots.
Here’s a glance through those player connections heading into the 1 p.m. ET kickoff.
Gunner Olszewski, wide receiver — The undrafted Bemidji State defensive back tried out at Patriots rookie minicamp in 2019 and got a call back in subsequent weeks. A place on the 53-man roster opened after cornerback Keion Crossen was traded to the Houston Texans at the NFL cutdown deadline. Olszewski went on to play in 37 games for New England. Those games saw him return 36 kickoffs for 834 yards as well as 66 punts for 834 yards and a touchdown. And on offense, the converted wide receiver turned nine catches into 127 yards and another trip to the end zone. First-team All-Pro honors met Olszewski as a sophomore. Now 25, he signed a two-year contract with Pittsburgh in March after not being tendered as a restricted free agent. His lone punt return in Week 1 went for 20 yards.
Montravius Adams, defensive tackle — The former first-team All-SEC selection out of Auburn had entered the NFL with the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2017 draft. Adams’ next stop would be New England as the 2021 league year opened. He was released after the preseason finale last summer, however, having logged a handful of quarterback hurries in exhibition action. Adams began last regular season between the New Orleans Saints’ active roster and practice squad before agreeing to join the Steelers at the end of November. The 27-year-old interior defensive lineman reached a two-year extension in March after starting four of his initial five appearances with Pittsburgh.
Christian Kuntz, long snapper — The Patriots signed Kuntz as an undrafted rookie in August 2017. The Duquesne product, whose 30.5 career sacks set the Northeast Conference record, was waived the next day after fellow linebacker Marquis Flowers was acquired in a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals. Stints with the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars followed for Kuntz before Pittsburgh signed him during the 2019 preseason. He re-signed in 2020 as a long snapper after taking on the role while in the XFL. After residing on the practice squad to close that campaign, the 28-year-old snapped in all 17 games in 2021. A tackle on special teams was logged in last week’s opener.
Brian Hoyer, quarterback — Hoyer finds himself in his third tour with the organization he first joined as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State in 2009. But the veteran quarterback’s first detour from New England brought him to Pittsburgh after his release at the league’s roster cutdown in 2012. Hoyer signed with the Steelers that November in wake of injuries to starter Ben Roethlisberger and backup Byron Leftwich. He was released the following month having not taken a snap in black, gold and white. Now set to turn 37 in October, Hoyer has completed 897-of-1,512 passes for 10,631 yards with 53 touchdowns and 35 interceptions during his career. He’s seen the field for 75 games, starting 39.