A Patriots release at the turn of the new NFL year set the stage for a reunion in Baltimore.

New England last Thursday released Chris Board, a talented special teams player who signed a two-year deal with the Patriots last year. Bill Belichick once labeled the 28-year-old as “the best special teams player” New England was going to see all season. He just didn’t provide much value beyond that, earning just one defensive snap all of last season.

Board played in all 17 games for the Patriots in the 2023 campaign, but the franchise decided to go in a different direction after a largely lousy season from the special teams unit. And less than a week after the release, Board latched on with the Ravens, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissro citing the seventh-year pro’s agent.

The North Dakota State product isn’t a stranger to Baltimore, where Lamar Jackson and company secured the AFC’s top playoff seed last season. Board played the first four seasons of his NFL career with the Ravens before joining the Detroit Lions for the 2022 campaign. Baltimore’s special teams were in the middle of the pack last season, so it’s easy to understand why it was interested in bringing Board back.

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Of course, losing Board wasn’t the Patriots’ most significant special teams development of the offseason. Matthew Slater’s retirement left New England with a void that will be virtually impossible to completely fill.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images