The New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens are no stranger to one another. And on Saturday at 4:35 p.m., the No. 1 seed and the No. 6 seed will meet again for the divisional playoff round at Gillette Stadium.
Former teammates and coaches will also meet again in the process.
Here is a look at 12 of the personnel ties between New England and Baltimore.
Kamar Aiken, Wide Receiver: Undrafted out of UCF in 2011, Aiken spent parts of his first two NFL seasons between the Buffalo Bills and the Chicago Bears, working his way over to New England’s practice squad in November of 2012. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound wideout was promoted from the Patriots’ practice squad to the 53-man roster, but was released again two days later and re-signed to the practice squad. Aiken played in Week 16 of the 2012 season for New England, and was on the active roster for the finale. He was released by the Patriots during the final cuts the following August and has since joined the Ravens, where he’s carved a niche on special teams and in the offense. The 25-year-old played in all 16 games during the 2014 regular season, catching the first 24 passes of his career or 267 yards and three touchdowns, adding another score on a blocked punt return.
Terrence Cody, Defensive Tackle: Before the 6-foot-4, 345-pound Cody was selected in the second round of the 2010 draft, he was known as “Mount Cody” in the middle of the Alabama defensive front. And behind him for 18 games and two seasons was linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who went on to be selected in the first round by the Patriots in 2012. The 26-year-old Cody has played in one game this season, after playing 56 through his first four with Baltimore.
Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker: Upshaw was another Crimson Tide product who played alongside Hightower on the second level of the Alabama defense. Both members of the same incoming class, and both revered as blue-chip prospects, Upshaw was drafted just 10 picks after Hightower at No. 35 overall in 2012. The 6-foot-2, 272-pound Upshaw has since tallied 132 tackles, three sacks, five pass breakups, one forced fumble and two recoveries over 48 NFL games. He’s done so for the last 16 alongside Pro Bowl rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley, also an Alabama standout.
Jeromy Miles, Safety: Miles attended the University of Massachusetts, going undrafted in 2010 before spending just under three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 27-year-old safety was claimed by the Ravens in November of 2013. Miles played in 12 games and notched nine tackles last year for Baltimore, contributing primarily on special teams. He played in every game during the 2014 campaign, starting two, while totaling 28 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and his first NFL interception.
Justin Forsett, Halfback: When the Ravens leading rusher was a senior at the University of California in 2007, a freshman redshirt by the name of Shane Vereen was nearby. Forsett went on to land with the Seattle Seahawks as a seventh-round pick that following April, while Vereen went on to land with the Patriots as a second-round pick four years later.
Jeremy Zuttah, Center: Zuttah entered the league as a third-round draft choice via Rutgers in 2008, where he played with a pipeline of future Patriots under head coach Greg Schiano. And Schiano followed Zuttah to Tampa Bay four years later. But as Schiano departed after the 2013 season, the center was traded to Baltimore for a fifth-round pick in March of 2014. He has started every game for the Ravens this season.
Casey Walker, Defensive Tackle: The Patriots added Walker off the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad in late September, and the 2013 undrafted Oklahoma product went on to play in his first five regular-season games, recording 11 tackles and one sack. As fellow defensive lineman Sealver Siliga returned from short-term injured reserve and Alan Branch was signed, Walker was waived and signed to New England’s practice squad. The 6-foot-1, 335-pounder was signed off the practice squad and to the Ravens’ 53-man roster in December, playing in one game.
Allen Reisner, Tight End: An Iowa Hawkeye, coached by Kirk Ferentz, Reisner has been a member of four different NFL teams since arriving as an undrafted rookie in 2011. He was signed to the Patriots’ practice squad in early September of 2014 before being released three days later. The tight end signed with the Ravens in November before being waived a month later. He was re-signed to the team’s practice squad one week into December.
Steve Smith Sr.: Wide Receiver: Smith was teammates with Brandon LaFell on the Carolina Panthers from 2010 through 2013. Now, the 35-year-old Smith is entering the playoffs coming off a 79-catch, 1,065-yard, six-touchdown season in Baltimore, and the 28-year-old LaFell is entering the playoffs coming off a 74-catch, 953-yard, seven-touchdown season in New England. Both wideouts have found a home beyond where their careers started. Both have remained close counterparts as well.
Jordan Devey, Guard: After Devey went from Snow College to Memphis, the offensive lineman went undrafted in 2013. From there, he was signed by Baltimore as a rookie free that May and was released that August. The 6-foot-6, 317-pound Devey spent one day on the Ravens practice squad in September of 2013 before being added to the Patriots’. He spent all of his rookie season there, playing in seven games and starting four in his second season.
Jonas Gray, Halfback: With 412 yards and five touchdowns on 89 carries, Gray led the Patriots in rushing in 2014, having playing in only eight of the team’s games. Before then, he was an undrafted rookie in the Miami Dolphins’ organization in 2012, as well as a practice-squad player for the Ravens in 2013. The 5-foot-10, 230-pound back signed a reserve-futures contract with New England last January.
Dean Pees, Defensive Coordinator: Pees worked alongside Patriots head coach Bill Belichick as New England’s linebackers coach from 2004 to 2005, then later as the team’s defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2009. In 2010, he moved on to the Ravens, where he initially served as a linebackers coach under head coach John Harbaugh before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2012.