Friday, November 22, 2013
Highlighting Pats-Broncos connections
By Field Yates
Each week we use this space to highlight players, coaches and staff members from the Patriots' upcoming opponent with a previous connection to the team.
While his status for Sunday night remains unknown, wide receiver Wes Welker, who spent six seasons with the Patriots, leads our list of current Broncos with ties to New England.
Wide receiver Wes Welker. Few receivers have ever had a six-year stretch like the one Welker produced from 2007 to 2012 in New England, surpassing 110 catches in five of those six seasons and setting the bar among NFL slot receivers. He signed as a free agent with Denver in the offseason and already has tied a career-high with nine touchdowns this season. A concussion suffered Sunday night has kept Welker off the practice field thus far this week.
Center Dan Koppen. The Patriots' longtime starter at center, Koppen signed with the Broncos after being released by New England last preseason. He stepped into a starting role in the absence of J.D. Walton and played well for the Broncos. An injury has landed Koppen on the injured reserve list, meaning he is out for the rest of the season. He was one of the Patriots' best draft choices under Bill Belichick (a fifth-rounder) and a key member of the offensive line during their back-to-back Super Bowl winning seasons.
Secondary coach Cory Undlin. Undlin is in his second season with the Broncos and his first as the secondary coach. He was a member of the Patriots' coaching staff in 2004 as a defensive coaching assistant before taking a quality-control job with Romeo Crennel when he left to become the Browns head coach.
Director of player personnel Matt Russell. Russell, a Butkus Award winner during his college playing career at Colorado, got his NFL scouting career started with the Patriots from 2001-05. He began as a pro scout before hitting the road as an area scout for three seasons. He is now in his second season as the director of player personnel for Denver.
National scout Adam Peters. Peters cut his teeth as a member of the Patriots personnel department from 2003-08, starting out as a player personnel assistant and working his way into an area scout job. He joined the Broncos in 2009, spending two seasons serving as the team's Western area scout. He shifted to a national scout role in 2011, the role he maintains today.