The eyes of New England will be on Tom Brady this month as the former Patriots quarterback looks to bring a Super Bowl title to Tampa Bay.
But the new Buccaneers signal-caller isn’t the only ex-Patriot looking to make noise in the 2020 NFL playoffs.
With the Patriots themselves not included in the postseason field for the first time since 2008, here are some of the New England alums — from giant names like Brady to fleeting practice squad members — who be competing for the Lombardi Trophy:
Just two here: safety Jordan Richards and tight end Eric Tomlinson.
Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll worked two stints as a Patriots assistant, most recently coaching New England tight ends between 2014 and 2016. Now, the 45-year-old is the architect of one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses and a hot head-coaching candidate. Assistant offensive line coach Ryan Wendell started five seasons for the Patriots at center and guard. Player-wise, the Bills have punter Corey Bojorquez and tight end Lee Smith, both of whom spent one preseason in Foxboro. Ex-Patriots O-lineman Jordan Devey is on Buffalo’s practice squad.
The Patriots probably wish they’d kept Akiem Hicks, as he became an elite defensive tackle after jumping from New England to Chicago in 2016. Linebacker Barkevious Mingo was a core special teamer on the 2016 championship team. Receiver/kick returner/running back Cordarrelle Patterson has made two Pro Bowls since leaving the Patriots after the 2018 season. Wideout DeAndre Carter was in camp with New England in 2016.
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn played one season for New England, winning a Super Bowl in 2018. Wide receivers coach/pass game coordinator Chad O’Shea coached Patriots wideouts from 2009 through 2018.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Linebacker Scoota Harris, the Patriots’ highest-paid 2020 UDFA, is on the Packers’ practice squad.
Jacoby Brissett is Philip Rivers’ backup in Indy. He’s been used more as a short-yardage rusher (17 attempts) than as a passer (eight attempts) this season. Kenny Moore, one of the zillion undrafted cornerbacks the Patriots have found in recent years, is in his third season as a Colts starter. Ex-Patriots safety Tavon Wilson joined the Colts last offseason. Jared Veldheer, who signed with the Patriots last year, then swiftly retired, started at left tackle in Week 17. Special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone is a former Patriots player and assistant.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Mike Pennel was one of the Patriots’ most notable free agent signings in 2019, but he was cut before the end of the preseason. Things wound up working out just fine for the veteran defensive tackle, who latched on with the Chiefs and won a Super Bowl. Pennel’s position coach, Brendan Daly, is New England’s former D-line coach, and Kansas City quarterbacks coach/pass game coordinator Mike Kafka had a cup of coffee with the Pats during his playing career.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
The Rams claimed former Patriots edge rusher Derek Rivers off waivers earlier this season. Cornerback Troy Hill briefly swung through Foxboro in 2015. Offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell and assistant receivers coach Zac Robinson both were drafted by the Patriots as quarterbacks.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Defensive tackle Malcom Brown was a Patriots first-round draft pick and two-time Super Bowl winner. Receiver Austin Carr was a training camp darling in 2017. Wideout Jake Kumerow spent a hot second on the Patriots’ practice squad later that season, and Bennie Fowler was on New England’s roster for four days in 2018. Fowler is on injured reserve, as is former Patriots cornerback Johnson Bademosi. Practice squad D-tackle Ryan Glasgow was on the Patriots’ P-squad for about a week in November.
Edge rusher Cassius Marsh had a rough nine-game run with the Patriots in 2017, then drew the ire of Pats fans when he ripped the organization for its lack of “fun.” Safe to say he’s not remembered fondly in New England. Slot corner Mike Hilton spent a few days on the Patriots’ practice squad early in the 2016 season. P-squad linebacker/long snapper Christian Kuntz was on New England’s training camp roster for one day in 2017. Adrian Klemm, Bill Belichick’s first Patriots draft pick, is Pittsburgh’s assistant O-line coach.
Former Patriots tight end Jacob Hollister is in his second season with Seattle. He caught a touchdown pass in two of the Seahawks’ final three regular-season games. Wideout Phillip Dorsett signed with Pete Carroll’s club last spring but spent the entire season on injured reserve. Quarterback Danny Etling is on the Seahawks’ practice squad. Receiver Josh Gordon is under contract with Seattle but can’t practice or play after hitting a setback in his battle with substance abuse last month. Head coach Pete Carroll also preceded Bill Belichick in New England, and his assistant special teams coach, Larry Izzo, won three Super Bowls as a Patriots player.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Brady, obviously. Also tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Antonio Brown. Ex-Patriots running back Kenjon Barner is on IR. Guard Ted Larsen, a Patriots draft pick, is on the practice squad. Linebacker Jack Cichy went from the Bucs to the Patriots and then back to the Bucs last month without appearing in a game for New England.
Lots of prominent Patriots connections in Tennessee, from head coach Mike Vrabel and general manager Jon Robinson to cornerback Malcolm Butler and kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Gostkowski was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list before Week 17, and it’s unclear whether he’ll be available Sunday against the Ravens. The Titans also have ex-Patriots tackle Marshall Newhouse on their 53-man roster and receiver Cody Hollister on their practice squad.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
Washington’s No. 2 quarterback behind Alex Smith is former Patriots practice squadder Taylor Heinicke, who could see game action Saturday night against Brady’s Bucs. Linebacker Jon Bostic played for New England in 2015. The WFT also has two veterans who were in camp with the Pats but failed to make the team: wide receiver Dontrelle Inman (2019) and running back Lamar Miller (2020).