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Friday, November 30, 2012
Patriots-Dolphins connections

By Field Yates

The Patriots and Dolphins know each other well as division rivals, and the two franchises also have some connections that go beyond the football field.

Below highlights the connections between the Dolphins and the Patriots/New England area:

Offensive tackle Will Yeatman. The former college lacrosse and football star was plucked by the Patriots as an undrafted tight end in 2011, lasting all the way until the final roster cut-downs at training camp. He seemed like a strong candidate to be added to the practice squad, but was claimed by the Dolphins off of waivers. Miami has since converted Yeatman to an offensive tackle, and he continues to develop in his second year in the NFL.

Head coach Joe Philbin/offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. Born in Springfield, Mass., Philbin has earned his first head coaching job (at any level) with the Dolphins this season. He's part of a large circle of NFL coaches hailing from Massachusetts, a group that also includes Sherman, who grew up in Northborough. In fact, Sherman actually taught Philbin while the latter was a post-graduate student at Worcester Academy, and the two have remained close friends since. Sherman gave Philbin his first coaching gig as a graduate assistant at Tulane in 1984, with Philbin returning the favor in 2012 by naming Sherman his coordinator.

Guard Josh Samuda. Originally from England, Samuda played his college ball at UMass, where he was a highly regarded offensive line prospect. He went undrafted in 2012, but has found a home with the Dolphins and made the active roster out of training camp. He's played in all 11 of the team's games, although he has not yet started a contest.

Offensive line coach Jim Turner. Turner, of Braintree, Mass., was a former assistant at Harvard. He was a member of Sherman's staff at Texas A&M, where he held the same position.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. Coyle is in his first season as the Dolphins defensive coordinator, and the 56-year-old has strong ties to the New England area as a graduate of and former defensive coordinator at Holy Cross.