- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Each week we'll use this space to highlight players, coaches and other members of the Patriots' upcoming opponent who have previous ties to the organization. This week, we lead with a current Bengals running back who defined reliability during his time in New England.
Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Nicknamed "The Law Firm" for his lengthy, four-part name, Green-Ellis ascended from an unknown undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss to a special teams contributor and eventually a starter for a team that appeared in the Super Bowl. A humble worker both on and off the field, Green-Ellis was perfectly reliable: He never fumbled during his four seasons in New England (564 total touches).
Wide receiver Brandon Tate. A speedy receiver in whom the Patriots invested a third-round pick on out of North Carolina, Tate's greatest contributions for the Patriots came on special teams, where he returned two kicks for a score during the 2010 season. That's a role he's continued with the Bengals.
Quarterback Zac Robinson. Robinson, who is currently on the PUP list, was taken by the Patriots in the seventh round out of Oklahoma State in 2010. He wasn't around for long in New England, as he was waived at the end of training camp and has since been on the Seahawks and Lions before joining the Bengals in 2011.
Tight end Alex Smith. Smith's tenure was brief as a Patriot, though the team saw enough in him to initially send the Buccaneers a fifth-round draft choice for him following the 2009 draft. He was cut in September of that year and has bounced around the league since.