The 9-3 New England Patriots will face the 8-4 San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday. And leading up to the 8:30 p.m. ET kickoff, familiar faces will also meet again.
Here is a closer look at a dozen of the ties between San Diego and New England.
Cordarro Law, Outside Linebacker: Before Law joined San Diego in 2014, before he played two seasons with the Calgary Stampeders, and before he signed as an undrafted rookie with the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, he was a Southern Mississippi Golden Eagle. And as a senior in 2011, the 6-foot-1, 254-pounder was a first-team All-Conference USA defensive end within a front that featured a junior edge linebacker named Jamie Collins. Law went on to total 9.5 sacks that season, and Collins would go on to tally 10 sacks as a senior before landing with New England in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Corey Liuget, Defensive Tackle: Now 57 starts into his Chargers career, the Liuget was once a starter for Illinois. It was there that 2011 first-round pick played with Patriots safety Tavon Wilson from 2008 through 2010, as well as cornerback Justin Green and defensive end Michael Buchanan from 2009 through 2010. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle entered the NFL draft following his junior season.
Kendall Reyes, Defensive End: A Nashua, N.H., native and one of two UConn products on the San Diego 53-man roster, Reyes was once thought to be a fit for the Patriots. Instead, he was selected in the second round of the 2012 draft by the Chargers, and he has proven to be a fit there as well. The 25-year-old has played in 44 regular-season games for the Chargers, starting 32.
Damion Square, Defensive Tackle: A 2013 undrafted free agent who’s made stops with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, Square made stops of a different sort with the Alabama Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-2, 293-pound defensive tackle played in a front seven along with Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower. The two were teammates from 2009 through 2011, before Hightower made his way to New England as a first-round draft choice. Chargers offensive tackle D.J. Fluker was there along with them, only on the other side of the ball.
Manti Te’o, Linebacker: Prior to becoming the No. 38 overall pick in the 2013 draft, the Heisman finalist played three seasons alongside Patriots linebacker Darius Fleming at Notre Dame. After Fleming stepped into the NFL ranks as a San Fransisco 49ers fifth-round choice in April of 2012, Te’o led the Irish with 113 tackles and seven interceptions as a senior that fall.
Rich Ohrnberger, Center: A fourth-round draft pick of the Patriots back in 2009, Ohrnberger went on to spend three seasons in New England, playing in five regular-season contests. The Penn State Nittany Lion has since ventured to the Arizona Cardinals and later signed on with the Chargers in 2013. Ohrnberger had started seven of eight games at center for San Diego this season before being placed on injured reserve.
Danny Woodhead, Running Back: Once a New York Jets wide receiver, Woodhead made his way back to his college position with the Patriots in September of 2010, playing 45 games with the team through 2012. The 5-foot-8, 200-pound Chadron State standout amassed 1,199 rushing yards and 982 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns for New England, before signing as a free agent with San Diego in 2013. And after a year in which Woodhead collected 106 carries and 76 passes for the Chargers, the third-down back fell to injured reserve three games into 2014.
Jason Verrett, Cornerback: San Diego’s first-round pick back in May, Verrett starred at Texas Christian. While there, the wiry 5-foot-9, 178-pound cornerback went against teammate Josh Boyce in practice for two years. Verrett is now on injured reserve; Boyce, a 2013 fourth-round wideout, is now on New England’s practice squad.
Damik Scafe, Defensive End: Also on San Diego’s injured reserve is Scafe, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive lineman by way of Windsor, Conn., and Boston College. Scafe spent five seasons in Chestnut Hill, finishing his final season second on the team with four pass deflections, and third with nine tackles for a loss and four sacks. He joined the Chargers in 2011.
Kendall James, Cornerback: A Maine Black Bear from 2009 through 2013, James went on to be named a second-team FCS All-American by the Associated Press last season. And from there, he went from Orono to Minneapolis as a Minnesota Vikings sixth-round draft pick. The 23-year-old has also been a member of the Houston Texans, but joined the Chargers’ practice squad in October.
Colton Underwood, Outside Linebacker: A first-year player out of Illinois State, Underwood presently resides on San Diego’s practice squad. The 22-year-old has also been a member of the Eagles’ practice squad, but the Patriots have grown familiar with him as well. Underwood had a private workout with New England leading up to May’s draft. The then-free agent later had another one with the team prior to the start of the regular season.
Mike McCoy, Head Coach: Four years before McCoy was named head coach of the Chargers, he was named quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. While there, he worked with then-Broncos head coach and current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels from 2009 to 2010.