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Both Greg Schiano and Bill Belichick share a common bond.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano are good friends, which makes their clash on Friday night all the more interesting.
Both men have strong ties to Rutgers University. Belichick's oldest son, Stephen, was once a long snapper for the Scarlet Knights—where Schiano coached from 2001 until 2011.
However, the connection runs deeper. The Patriots have used the New Jersey football program as a steady pipeline for NFL talent.
Currently, there are three Rutgers products on New England's 90-man roster: cornerback Devin McCourty, defensive end Justin Francis and tight end Alex Silvestro.
Clearly, the man known for sporting a cut-off hooded sweatshirt is also known for trusting Schiano's tutelage.
When asked about his association with Rutgers alums last December, Belichick attributed it to the Buccaneers' new coach. According to MassLive.com's Nick Underhill, Belichick opined:
Anytime he’s told me anything, it’s always been 100 percent accurate...I think a player that he’s familiar with, I would definitely want to take the opportunity to get his opinion and see what he thinks because of his experience and the amount of respect I have for him.
This game also symbolizes a story that has come full circle. Stephen Belichick joined the Patriots coaching staff as an assistant in May, per ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss. And after ex-Rutgers wide receiver Tiquan Underwood was released by the Patriots for a final time this offseason, he jumped on board with the Bucs.
It will be fun to see the whole gang back together in a relatively friendly preseason environment. If Schiano's former players get the best of him, the reunion might be a little bittersweet.