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Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Patriots-Jets connections

By Field Yates

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- There's no shortage of familiarity between the Patriots and Jets, longtime division rivals who haven't exactly gotten along over the years. The two teams will be the focus of everyone's attention on Thursday night when they square off in prime-time action for the Patriots' first home game of the 2013 season.

With kickoff around the corner, here's a look at connections between former Patriots who are now a part of the Jets organization.

Players
Tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr. -- Winslow was a Patriot, albeit briefly, during the 2012 season, catching one pass in a single game played. He was out of football after being released by the team until the Jets brought him aboard this offseason. The Jets were thin at tight end, and Winslow gave them a big boost in Week 1, catching seven passes for 79 yards and a score.

Fullback Lex Hilliard -- Like Winslow, Hilliard's Patriot tenure was brief, signing with the team just before Week 1 last season. He played in a pair of games for the Patriots, carrying the ball one time during those contests. He later signed with the Jets, playing in 12 games for them last season. After suffering a broken scapula this preseason, Hilliard has landed on injured reserve.

Other connections of note
Guard Vlad Ducasse -- A 2010 second-round pick, Ducasse was a standout player at UMass during his college career. After working as a left tackle during his final season at UMass, Ducasse has been transitioned to a guard in New York.

Running back John Griffin -- Another UMass product, Griffin landed on the Jets injured reserve list after suffering a broken leg during the team's preseason opener. Originally an undrafted free agent, Griffin previously spent time in the UFL and with the Bengals.

Tight end Chris Pantale -- Undrafted out of Boston College this season, Pantale has settled into a role on the Jets' practice squad. He was a four-year starter for the Eagles, earning second team freshman All-American honors in 2009.