It wasn't long after the Jets opted not to tender a contract to restricted free agent Marquice Cole that the defensive back and special-teams contributor landed with the Patriots this past offseason.
The Northwestern graduate has brought a veteran presence to the Patriots' secondary, and he has worked extensively as a core special-teamer with his new team.
He offers a unique perspective heading into Sunday, when his old team travels to take on his current team at Gillette Stadium in Week 7 play.
Cole said he's looking forward to the opportunity.
"It'll be fun, going against the guys that I played with for years in practice and everything like that," he said. "It'll be fun. It'll be a competitive game."
Despite the buildup of the game as a rivalry between the two top teams in the division over the past few years, Cole doesn't view this Sunday as different from any other.
"I know it's a rivalry and everything, but you go out to win every game, so it's not like this game will be any different than any others," Cole noted. "It's just a game we want to go out and compete."
He said that when he signed with the Patriots, he wasn't thinking about facing his old squad twice a year, but rather focused on the opportunity to continue his NFL career.
"Just another opportunity to come out and play football," Cole said. "This is a place that wanted me here, so I decided to come, and I'm trying to help out."
Cole stated that he remains in contact with several of his old teammates, and that he and quarterback Mark Sanchez had a strong relationship. He described the quarterback as a fun-loving guy, and Sanchez shared his admiration for Cole on a conference call Wednesday, saying he is "one of the best teammates you could ever ask for."
Though Cole's primary work has come on special teams in New England, he has also logged 21 defensive snaps, often as a slot cornerback as part of a sub-defensive package. He stressed preparation in practice as one of the ways to stay ready for game action on Sundays.
"I just go out and prepare like I'm going to play," Cole continued. "When my number's called, my number's called, and I go out there and do what I can do."