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Examining the roster ties between Patriots, Bills ahead of Week 7

Running through the list of former Patriots and former Bills.

Las Vegas Raiders v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

There isn’t a lengthy list of current connections between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills, but the list goes both directions.

One former Patriots player can be found on the active roster in Orchard Park. Three former Bills players can be found on the practice squad in Foxborough.

Here’s a glance through the familiar names ahead of Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET AFC East meeting at Gillette Stadium.


Damien Harris, running back — As a free agent in March, Harris stayed in the division on a one-year contract with Buffalo. Through six games since then, the veteran running back has handled 23 carries for 94 yards and one touchdown while catching both of his targets for an additional 16 yards. The 26-year-old was taken off the field in an ambulance last Sunday night and released from the hospital on Monday. In concussion protocol and recovering from a neck sprain, he has played 15 percent of the offensive snaps for a depth chart featuring James Cook and Latavius Murray. Selected in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft at No. 87 overall, Harris started 34 of his 38 contests while in New England. The two-time Alabama national champion’s Patriots tenure featured 449 carries for 2,094 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. A team-high and career-high 929 yards and 15 scores arrived there in 2021. Added out of the backfield during his stay were 40 catches for 281 yards.


Conor McDermott, offensive tackle — The Patriots re-signed McDermott to the practice squad on Tuesday after reaching an injury settlement with the 30-year-old before the season opener. The final selection in the organization’s 2017 draft class, McDermott got the call in the sixth round at No. 211 overall. The UCLA Bruin would be claimed off waivers by the Bills following his rookie preseason. He went on to accrue parts of three campaigns with Buffalo before being claimed off waivers. McDermott then circled back to his first NFL team off the New York Jets’ practice squad last fall, making six straight starts at right tackle and signing a contract extension by February. The veteran bookend has appeared in 49 games, including a dozen starts as well as a touchdown as an eligible tight end, during his AFC East run.

Breon Borders, cornerback — Borders signed to New England’s practice squad midway through September. The 28-year-old entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Raiders of Oakland in 2017. But during the final month of his rookie season, he departed from the practice squad for a spot on the Bills’ 53-man roster. Borders was waived by Buffalo at the league’s cutdown the following Labor Day weekend. The cornerback out of Duke has appeared in 32 games, including six starts, during a journey that has also brought stops with the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Commanders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears. He’s had a hand in seven pass deflections, one interception, one fumble recovery and 42 tackles.

Joe Giles-Harris, linebacker — Giles-Harris, who worked out and signed with the Patriots on the eve of the preseason opener, was retained on the practice squad at its formation. The 26-year-old linebacker entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2019. After a stint with the Jacksonville, he headed to Buffalo ahead of the 2021 campaign. Spending time on the practice squads and active rosters of both of his previous clubs, Giles-Harris has appeared in 17 career games, starting three. He was released by the Bills in January. Across 208 snaps on defense and 319 snaps on special teams, the Duke product stands with 26 tackles and one sack.