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Thursday, January 9, 2014
Highlighting Pats-Colts connections

By Field Yates

Each week, we use this space to highlight members of the Patriots’ upcoming opponent's organization that have ties to New England.

That list grew by one face -- and a familiar one -- earlier this week.

FORMER PATRIOT PLAYERS:

Wide receiver Deion Branch. The former second-round pick of the Patriots and a Super Bowl MVP, Branch was signed by the Colts on Monday. The veteran had been out of football since last season, though he worked out for the Colts on Dec. 10. He now has a shot to play against his old team.

Kicker Adam Vinatieri. Another former Patriots Super Bowl hero, Vinatieri continues his spectacular career with the Colts. The 41-year-old has drilled 36-of-41 field goals thus far this season.

Safety Sergio Brown. A standout special-teams player, Brown was an undrafted free agent find by the Patriots back in 2010. After two seasons in New England, Brown settled in with the Colts before the 2012 regular season and has been a solid core special-teamer.

Cornerback Darius Butler. One of four second-round picks for the Patriots in 2009, Butler has found a nice niche with the Colts. He started seven of 16 games this year and had four interceptions, tying a career-high.

Guard Donald Thomas. Thomas turned a dependable stint of fill-in play for Logan Mankins in 2012 into a lucrative contract and starting job with the Colts this past offseason. Unfortunately, an early-season injury landed him on IR.

NEW ENGLAND TIES:

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The veteran reserve signal caller hails from Norfolk, Mass., and was a terrific player at both Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass., and Boston College.

Offensive tackles Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus. The two starters for Indy, both players enjoyed productive stints at Boston College. They overlapped for one season, 2007.