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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 1/2 tackles for loss, 2 1/2 sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, seven interceptions and 10 passes defensed.
  • Panthers linebackers coach Al Holcomb worked as the linebackers coach, assistant track coach and physical education instructor at Maine's Colby College in 1997.
  • Panthers defensive line coach 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 assistant defensive backs/safeties coach Richard Rodgersworked 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.


  • Panthers DT Kyle Love was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by New England in 2010 and played for the Patriots until 2012. In 2011, Love appeared in 16 games and made 13 starts while posting 55 tackles, three sacks, five quarterback pressures and one fumble recovery. In 2012, Love played in 16 games with 11 starts for New England and compiled 40 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one quarterback pressure.


  • Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was the defensive quality control coach for the Bears when Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears coached the receivers at Chicago. Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Shula also coached in Chicago when Fears worked for the Bears.
  • Panthers RB Fozzy Whittakerwas teammates with Patriots RB Dion Lewis at Cleveland in 2013.
  • Patriots RB Dion Lewis also played with Panthers S Kurt Coleman at Philadelphia in 2011 and 2012.
  • Patriots WR Brandin Cooks and Panthers TE Chris Manhertzplayed together at New Orleans for a portion of the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
  • Panthers S Mike Adams played with Patriots TE Dwayne Allen, WR Phillip Dorsett and RB Dion Lewis at Indianapolis. Allen, along with Patriots DL Lawrence Guy, also played with Panthers DE Mario Addison at the Colts.
  • Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore and RB Mike Gillislee played with Panthers CB Kevon Seymour at Buffalo in 2016.
  • Patriots DL Alan Branch and Panthers QB Derek Andersonwere teammates for one season (2010) at Arizona.
  • Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea and defensive line coach Brendan Daly worked with Panthers assistant defensive backs/nickels coach Jeff Imamura at Minnesota from 2006-08. Daly returned to the Vikings in 2012-13 and also worked with Panthers T Matt Kaliland Panthers assistant quarterbacks coach Cameron Turner then.
  • Patriots LB David Harris played with Panthers assistant wide receivers coach Jerricho Cotchery at the Jets. Panthers special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and wide receivers coach Lance Taylor were also on staff when Harris was at New York.


  • Patriots S Patrick Chung played with Panthers TE Ed Dickson and RB Jonathan Stewart at Oregon.
  • Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett played with Panthers QBBrad Kaaya and Panthers CB LaDarius Gunter at the University of Miami. In Dorsett's final season (2014), Kaaya quarterbacked the Hurricanes as a true freshman. Individually, the two led the ACC that year – Kaaya with 26 passing touchdowns and Dorsett with 10 receiving touchdowns. Dorsett also posted a 24.2 yard per catch average that year, which ranked second in the nation.
  • Patriots DB Nate Ebner played with Panthers S Kurt Coleman, G Andrew Norwell and LB Jeremy Cash at Ohio State.
  • Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore played one season (2011) with Panthers WR Damiere Byrdat South Carolina.
  • Patriots DBs Jonathan Jones and Brandon King played with Panthers RB Cameron Artis-Payne at Auburn.
  • Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey and Patriots DB Jordan Richards were teammates at Stanford in 2014. McCaffrey's running backs coach at Stanford was current Panthers wide receivers coach Lance Taylor, who was also on staff when Richards played for the Cardinal.
  • Panthers DT Vernon Butler was a freshman at Louisiana Tech in 2012 when Patriots P Ryan Allen was a senior on the team.
  • Patriots OL Marcus Cannon played with Panthers S Colin Jones at TCU from 2008-10.
  • Patriots DB Eric Rowe, Panthers DT Star Lotulelei and Panthers LB Jared Norris played together at Utah.
  • Patriots C David Andrews and Panthers T John Theusplayed in the trenches together at Georgia from 2012-14.
  • Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea and Panthers special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey played together at the University of Houston from 1994-95 and were co-captains on the team their senior year. They also coached together for the Cougars in 1997.
  • Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski played at Arizona when Panthers head strength and conditioning coach Joe Kenn directed the sports performance program for the Wildcats.
  • Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower was a freshman at Alabama when Panthers wide receivers coach Lance Taylorwas a graduate assistant for the Crimson Tide.
  • Patriots head strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera was an assistant on the strength staff when Panthers LB Ben Jacobs played at Fresno State.
  • Panthers C Tyler Larsen attended Utah State when Patriots coaching assistant Cole Popovich was a graduate assistant with the team.
  • Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge was a member of the coaching staff at Mississippi State when Panthers DT Kyle Love played for the Bulldogs.
  • Patriots coaching assistant Cole Popovich and Panthers assistant defensive backs/nickels coach Jeff Imamura worked together at Minot State in 2014.


  • 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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