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Connections: Patriots - Panthers

A look at the connections between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers.


A look at the connections between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers.


  • Panthers LB Luke Kuechly attended Boston College and played in 38 games with 37 starts. He finished his career with an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and school-record 532 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, seven interceptions and 10 passes defensed.
  • Panthers LB Shaq Thompson was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 18th round of the 2012 MLB Draft and played one season of rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League.
  • Panthers defensive coordinator Eric Washington was commissioned as a Naval Reserve Officer in 1998 and assigned to the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I., where he served as the defensive coordinator of the football team for three years.
  • Panthers secondary coach Richard Rodgers worked at Holy Cross, first as the secondary coach in 2005 and later as the defensive coordinator from 2006-11.


  • Patriots TE Dwayne Allen hails from Fayetteville N.C., where he attended Terry Sanford High School. He went on to play at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., from 2008-11.
  • Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore grew up in Rock Hill, S.C., and was named "Mr. Football" for the state of South Carolina for helping South Point High School to a perfect 15-0 record and a state title as a senior in 2008. Gilmore continued his education at the University of South Carolina.
  • Patriots WR Cordarrelle Patterson is also a native of Rock Hill and led his Northwestern High School to the Class 4A Division II state title game.
  • Patriots WR Braxton Berrios grew up in Raleigh, N.C.
  • New England DB Keion Crossen is from Garysburg, N.C. and played at Western Carolina from 2014-17.
  • Patriots DE Derek Rivers grew up in Kinston, N.C.
  • Patriots OL Joe Thuney went to N.C. State from 2012-15 and was named a first team All-American.


  • Panthers DT Kyle Love was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent and played for the team from 2010-12. In his three years in New England, Love played in 41 regular-season games, notching 5 1/2 sacks and 65 total tackles.
  • Panthers OL Blaine Clausell spent Weeks 1-10 of the 2015 season on the Patriots practice squad.
  • Panthers DE Bryan Cox Jr.'s father, Bryan Cox, played for the Patriots in 2001 as part of his 12-year NFL career.
  • Panthers QB Garrett Gilbert spent time on the Patriots 2014 practice squad, earning a Super Bowl ring and was with the team until June 2015 when he was waived.
  • Panthers QB Taylor Heinicke played on the Patriots' practice squad in the beginning of 2017.
  • The Patriots drafted Carolina DE Zach Moore in the sixth round (198th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft and he went through the preseason with the team before being cut.
  • Panthers DB Alex Carter spent time on the Patriots practice squad in 2017.


  • Panthers S Mike Adams was in Denver with Patriots director of pro personnel Dave Ziegler in 2012 while Ziegler was a scout for the Broncos. Patriots WR Eric Decker also played with Adams on Denver from 2012-13.
  • Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was the defensive quality control coach for the Chicago Bears while Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears was the receivers coach from 1997-98.
  • Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner served in that same capacity and coached Patriots QB Brian Hoyer on Cleveland in 2013 and WR Cordarrelle Patterson on Minnesota from 2014-16.
  • Panthers RB C.J. Anderson played with Patriots WR Eric Decker (2013) and OL James Ferentz (2015-16) for Denver. Ferentz also played with Carolina CB Lorenzo Doss from 2015-16.
  • Patriots DE Adrian Clayborn anchored the Atlanta defense with Panthers DT Dontari Poe in 2017.
  • Panthers CB Ross Cockrell played with Patriots WR Chris Hogan and CB Stephon Gilmore for Buffalo in 2014. Panthers TE Chris Manhertz also went through 2015 training camp in Buffalo with Hogan, Gilmore and RB Mike Gillislee. Additionally, Carolina CB Kevon Seymour played with Gillislee and Gilmore in 2016.
  • Panthers DB Da'Norris Searcy played with Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore and WR Chris Hogan for Buffalo from 2012-14.
  • Panthers WR Bug Howard played with Patriots DB Jason McCourty and DL Danny Shelton for Cleveland in 2017. McCourty and Shelton were also on Cleveland while Panthers P Michael Palardy was on the practice squad in 2016.
  • Patriots WR Cordarrelle Patterson played with several Panthers during his time on Minnesota, teaming up with OL Matt Kalil (2013-16), WR Jarius Wright (2013-16), OL Jeremiah Sirles (2015-16), DE Zach Moore (2015) and CB Captain Munnerlyn (2014-16). He also played with Panthers QB Taylor Heinicke during the 2016 preseason.
  • Patriots DL Lawrence Guy played with Panthers OL Jeremiah Sirles for San Diego in 2014.
  • Patriots QB Brian Hoyer was a part of the Cleveland offense with Panthers RB Fozzy Whittaker in 2013.
  • Panthers WR Torrey Smith played with Patriots DL Lawrence Guy for Baltimore in 2014 and with OL Trent Brown on San Francisco from 2015-16.
  • Panthers S Mike Adams played with Patriots TE Dwayne Allen and WR Phillip Dorsett for Indianapolis from 2014-16.
  • Carolina RB Kenjon Barner played with New England DB Eric Rowe (2015), OL Matt Tobin (2015-16) and WR Paul Turner (2016) for Philadelphia.
  • Patriots WR Kenny Britt was on the St. Louis Rams with Panthers QB Garrett Gilbert in 2014. Gilbert spent his time with the Rams on the practice squad.
  • Panthers DB Dezmen Southward played for Indianapolis with Patriots TE Dwayne Allen and WR Phillip Dorsett in 2015.
  • Panthers DB Da'Norris Searcy spent time on Tennessee with Patriots DB Jason McCourty (2015-16), OL Brian Schwenke (2015-16) and WR Eric Decker (2017).
  • Panthers QB Taylor Heinicke played for Houston with Patriots DB Eddie Pleasant from 2017-18. The two never took the field together as Heinicke spent his time on the practice squad.
  • Panthers RB Elijah Hood was on Oakland's practice squad while Patriots WR Cordarrelle Patterson played for the team in 2017.
  • Panthers P Michael Palardy went through the 2015 preseason with Patriots WR Kenny Britt for St. Louis.
  • Patriots OL Matt Tobin played with Panthers DB Alex Carter for Seattle in 2017.
  • Patriots OL Trent Brown played with Panthers DE Zach Moore on San Francisco in 2016.
  • Patriots OL Trent Brown played with Panthers OL Norman Price for San Francisco from 2016 through the 2017 preseason. Brown and Price blocked for Patriots QB Brian Hoyer in 2017.
  • Panthers TE Jason Vander Laan played on the New York Jets with Patriots WR Eric Decker (2016) and TE Will Tye for the 2017 preseason.


  • Panthers defensive line coach Brady Hoke was a defensive line coach at Michigan when Patriots QB Tom Brady played there from 1997-99 and played a major role in recruiting him. Hoke was also head coach at Michigan from 2013-14 while Patriots FB Henry Poggi played there.
  • Panthers RB Cameron Artis-Payne played for Auburn with Patriots DB Jonathan Jones and LB Brandon King from 2013-14.
  • Patriots DB Jordan Richards played with Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (2014) and DB Alex Carter (2012-14) for Stanford.
  • Panthers LB Ben Jacobs played with Patriots coaching assistant Cole Popovich from 2006-08 at Fresno State while Popovich played offensive line. The duo played under Patriots head strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera from 2004-09 while Cabrera was an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
  • Panthers DB Dezmen Southward played with Patriots RB James White for Wisconsin from 2010-13. The pair played under Patriots consultant to the head coach Bret Bielema from 2009-12 when he was head coach of the Badgers.
  • Carolina DT Vernon Butler played with Patriots P Ryan Allen (2012) and WR Paul Turner (2013-15) at Louisiana Tech.
  • Patriots DB Eddie Pleasant teamed up with Panthers RB Kenjon Barner for Oregon in 2011.
  • Panthers OL Adam Bisnowaty played with Patriots LB Nicholas Grigsby (2012-15) and CB Ryan Lewis (2012-16) for Pittsburgh.
  • Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore spent the 2011 season with Panthers WR Damiere Byrd on South Carolina.
  • Patriots DL Danny Shelton and Panthers LB Shaq Thompson were a part of the Washington defense from 2012-14.
  • Patriots OL Marcus Cannon played with Panthers DB Colin Jones for TCU in 2008-10.
  • Panthers CB Corn Elder played with Patriots WR Braxton Berrios (2014- 16), WR Phillip Dorsett (2013-14) and DL Trent Harris (2014-16) at Miami (Fla.). Panthers CB LaDarius Gunter also played with Dorsett (2012- 14), Berrios (2014) and Harris (2014). Additionally, Panthers DT Kendrick Norton played with Berrios (2015-17) and Harris (2015-17).
  • Panthers OL Jeremiah Sirles played with Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (2009- 12) and DT Vincent Valentine (2013) for Nebraska.
  • Panthers OL Trai Turner played with Patriots RB Jeremy Hill (2012-13) and WR Paul Turner (2011-12) for LSU.
  • Patriots OL Brian Schwenke blocked for Panthers RB C.J. Anderson at California from 2011-12.
  • Carolina LB Jermaine Carter played with New England DB J.C. Jackson on Maryland from 2016-17.
  • Panthers DL Bryan Cox Jr. teamed up with Patriots RB Mike Gillislee (2012), OL Trent Brown (2013-14), DB Duke Dawson (2014-16) and DB J.C. Jackson (2014) for Florida.
  • New England DL Eric Lee played with Carolina OL Quinterrius Eatmon from 2012-14 at South Florida.
  • Patriots DL Trey Flowers played with Panthers WR Jarius Wright on Arkansas in 2011.
  • Patriots WR Cordarrelle Patterson played with Panthers P Michael Palardy for Tennessee in 2012.
  • Panthers DE Marquis Haynes played at Mississippi with Patriots DB A.J. Moore (2014-17) and under Patriots coaching assistant DeMarcus Covington when Covington was a defensive graduate assistant.
  • Patriots DL Geneo Grissom played for Oklahoma with Panthers OL Daryl Williams from 2011-14.
  • Patriots FB Henry Poggi played for Michigan with Panthers WR Devin Funchess from 2013-14.
  • Carolina CB Donte Jackson was teammates with Patriots QB Danny Etling and DL Frank Herron at LSU from 2015-17.
  • Panthers OL Dorian Johnson played for Pittsburgh with Patriots LB Nicholas Grigsby (2013-15) and CB Ryan Lewis (2013-16).
  • Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge was a graduate assistant at Mississippi State while Panthers DT Kyle Love played there from 2006-07.
  • Patriots DB J.C. Jackson was at Maryland with Panthers WR DJ Moore from 2016-17.
  • Panthers LB Jared Norris played at Utah with Patriots LB Harvey Langi (2011) and DB Eric Rowe (2011-14).
  • Carolina DE Sterling Bailey played for Georgia with New England C David Andrews (2012-14), DL John Atkins (2013-15), RB Sony Michel (2014- 15) and OL Isaiah Wynn (2014-15).


  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's father, Steve Belichick, was an assistant coach at the United States Naval Academy for 34 years from 1956-89. Panthers running game coordinator John Matsko was also an assistant coach at Navy and worked alongside the elder Belichick in 1985.

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