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Connections: Patriots - Lions

A look at the connections between the New England Patriots and the Detroit Lions.


  • Lions executive vice president and general manager Bob Quinn is a native of Norwood, Mass., and earned both his undergraduate and master's degrees from University of Connecticut. He was also a graduate assistant in the athletic department for the Huskies.
  • Lions WR Noel Thomas is a native of Norwalk, Conn., and attended St. Luke's School (New Canaan, Conn.). He went on to be a three-year starter at the University of Connecticut, where he recorded 183 receptions, the fourth-most in school history.
  • Lions vice president of player personnel Kyle O'Brien attended Harvard University and interned with the Patriots while an undergraduate student there.
  • Lions special teams coordinator Joe Marciano coached the wide receivers at Rhode Island from 1978-79.
  • Lions tight ends coach Al Golden served as linebackers coach at Boston College from 1997-99.
  • Lions defensive backs/cornerbacks coach Tony Oden was also a graduate assistant at Boston College in 1997.
  • Lions linebackers coach Bill Sheridan coached the linebackers at the University of Maine form 1987-88.


  • Patriots QB Tom Brady played at the University of Michigan from 1997-99, where he amassed a 20-5 record as a two-year starter for the Wolverines.
  • Patriots DL Alan Branch attended Michigan from 2004-06 and earned first-team All-Big Ten and ESPN All-America honors.
  • Patriots LB David Harris hails from Grand Rapids, Mich. He attended Ottowa Hills High School and went on to play at Michigan from 2003-06.


  • Lions executive vice president and general manager Bob Quinn was hired by the Lions after 16 seasons with the Patriots (2000-15), most recently as director of pro scouting. During his time at New England, he had a hand in developing teams that won 13 division titles, six AFC championships and four Super Bowls.
  • Lions defensive assistant – special projects George Godsey spent three years on the coaching staff with the Patriots from 2011-13.
  • Lions tight ends coach Al Golden played one season in the NFL with the Patriots.
  • Lions head strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash, Jr., worked on the Patriots' strength staff for 11 seasons from 2006-16, starting as an assistant coach before being promoted to head strength and conditioning coach in 2011.
  • Lions vice president of player personnel Kyle O'Brien was with the Patriots from 2002-11, serving in various roles in the personnel department during his tenure with the team.
  • Lions S Tavon Wilson was drafted by the Patriots in 2012 NFL Draft. During his four seasons at New England, he appeared in 54 regular season games and seven postseason games, including Super Bowl XLIX.
  • Lions WR Keshawn Martinplayed one season with the Patriots in 2015, starting eight of the nine games in which he appeared and recording 24 receptions for 269 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Lions TETim Wright was with the Patriots for the 2014 season, playing all 16 regular season games and making two starts.


  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spent two years on the Lions coaching staff as an assistant special teams coach in 1976-77 and added the tight ends and wide receivers to his coaching responsibilities in his second year. His father, Steve, also had ties to Detroit, playing at fullback for one season (1941) for the Lions.
  • Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy was drafted by the Lions in the second round (40th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. He appeared in 30 games in his two-and-a-half seasons at Detroit before being acquired by the Patriots in a midseason trade in 2016.
  • Patriots OL LaAdrian Waddle also began his career with Detroit, signing as a rookie free agent in 2013, and played three seasons with the Lions. He make 24 starts in 30 appearances during that time.


  • Patriots LB David Harris and Lions LB Nick Bellore were teammates together at the Jets for four seasons (2011-14).
  • Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Josh McDanielswas the head coach of the Broncos when Lions K Matt Prater played at Denver.
  • Patriots DL Alan Branch and Lions WR Golden Tate played together for two seasons (2011-12) at Seattle.
  • Patriots DL Alan Branch was with the Cardinals when Lions defensive coordinatorTeryl Austinand assistant defensive line coach Matt Raich were on the defensive coaching staff at Arizona.
  • Patriots OL James Ferentz and DL Darius Kilgo played at Denver when Lions quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan was on staff with the Broncos.
  • Lions running backs coachDavid Walkerserved in the same role at Indianapolis when Patriots RB Dion Lewis, TE Dwayne Allen and DL Lawrence Guy were with the Colts.
  • Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore, WR Chris Hogan and RB Mike Gillislee played with Lions T Cyrus Kouandjioat Buffalo.
  • Patriots DL Lawrence Guy played with Lions DTHaloti Ngata, T Rick Wagnerand CB Tramain Jacobsat Baltimore.
  • Patriots RB Rex Burkhead played with Lions WR Marvin Jones, Jr., from 2013-15 at Cincinnati.
  • Patriots RB Dion Lewis played with Lions CB Johnson Bademosi and DE Armonty Bryantat Cleveland.
  • Patriots LB Shea McClellin was with the Bears when Lions DE Cornelius Washington, DT Ego Ferguson, DT Bruce Gaston, T Nick Bectonand TE Khari Lee also played at Chicago.
  • Patriots LB Jonathan Freeny played for the Dolphins when Lions linebackers coach Bill Sheridan served in the same capacity at Miami.
  • Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly held the same role with the Vikings when Lions defensive backs/safeties coach Alan Williams was the defensive coordinator at Minnesota. Lions RB Matt Asiataalso played for the Vikings at the same time.


  • Patriots QB Tom Brady played at Michigan when Lions defensive coordinatorTeryl Austin was the defensive backs coach for the Wolverines.
  • Patriots DL Alan Branch and LB David Harris also played at Michigan when Lions linebackers coach Bill Sheridan coached the defensive line.
  • Lions T Cyrus Kouandjio played for Alabama and won two national championships while there, first as a teammate of Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower in 2011 and the next year as a teammate of Patriots CB Cyrus Jones in 2012.
  • Patriots CB Cyrus Jones was also teammates with Lions DTA'Shawn Robinson at Alabama.
  • Patriots RB Dion Lewis played at Pittsburgh when Lions running backs coach David Walkerwas his position coach.
  • Walker also coached with Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patriciaat Syracuse from 2001-03.
  • Patriots S Patrick Chung and Lions DTHaloti Ngatawere college teammates at Oregon for the 2005 season.
  • Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell and C David Andrews played together with Lions DE Cornelius Washington at Georgia from 2011-12.
  • Patriots RB Mike Gillislee played at Florida when Lions defensive coordinatorTeryl Austinwas the defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach for the Gators.
  • Patriots WR Matthew Slater played for UCLA when Lions quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan was a graduate assistant with the team.
  • Patriots RB James White was college teammates with Lions WR Jared Abbrederis and T Rick Wagnerat Wisconsin.
  • Patriots DB Jordan Richards and OL Cameron Fleming were teammates with Lions CB Johnson Bademosi, S Alex Carterand WR Michael Rector at Stanford.
  • Lions WR Ameer Abdullah was college teammates with Patriots RB Rex Burkhead, TE Sam Cotton and DT Vincent Valentine at Nebraska.
  • Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels was a graduate assistant at Michigan State when Lions linebackers coach Bill Sheridan was the linebackers coach for the Spartans.
  • Patriots head strength and conditioning coachMoses Cabrera and assistant strength and conditioning coach James Hardy both worked at Colorado when Lions wide receivers coach Robert Prince was the passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach for the Buffs.
  • Patriots DB Duron Harmon played with Lions TE Tim Wrightat Rutgers.
  • Patriots TE Dwayne Allen and Lions G Brandon Thomas played together at Clemson from 2009-11.
  • Patriots DB Eric Rowe and Lions RB Matt Asiataplayed together at Utah for one season (2011).
  • Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy and Lions DE Ezekiel Ansahwere teammates at BYU.
  • Patriots P Ryan Allen played with Lions CB Adairius Barnes at Louisiana Tech.
  • Patriots DL Malcolm Brown was college teammates with Lions CB Quandre Diggs at Texas.
  • Patriots OL Jason King and Lions DTBruce Gaston played together at Purdue for one season (2013).
  • Patriots LB Elandon Roberts played with Lions CB DJ Hayden at Houston.
  • Patriots OL LaAdrian Waddle and Lions DE Kerry Hyder, Jr., were teammates at Texas Tech.
  • Patriots DL Deatrich Wise, Jr., TE Cody Hollister and LB Brooks Ellis played with Lions DTJeremiah Ledbetter and CTravis Swanson at Arkansas in 2015-16. Patriots DL Trey Flowers and Swanson were also Razorback teammates.
  • Patriots FB Glenn Gronkowski played with Lions T Cornelius Lucas at Kansas State.
  • Patriots WR Tony Washington played with Lions P Sam Martin at Appalachian State.
  • Patriots DB Justin Coleman was college teammates with Lions LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin at Tennessee.
  • Patriots DBs Brandon King and Jonathan Jones played with Lions T Greg Robinson at Auburn.
  • Patriots OL Cole Croston and RB LeShun Daniels, Jr., were teammates with Lions QBJake Rudockat Iowa.
  • Patriots G Ted Karras and Lions DT Akeem Spence played together at Illinois.

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