SPARTANBURG, S.C. — There are plenty of connections between the Bills and Panthers as many guys spent time with Carolina before coming to Buffalo.
The two biggest ties are with head coach Sean McDermott after he spent six seasons as the Panthers' defensive coordinator. The other obvious connection is GM Brandon Beane who was Carolina's director of football operations before taking over as assistant general manager.
"This is one of the areas I got my start so I picked up a lot coming here to Wofford learning from a lot of the staff still today and it's one of the foundations that I built my career on," head coach Sean McDermott said.
"I just think what a blessing it is to be able to come back to one of the places I started and to be around the people and this is a campus with, much like St. John Fisher at home, they welcome us with open arms. It's just neat to think back on how far the good Lord has brought my career and my family and I'm blessed to be in Buffalo but also to have been here," McDermott said.
There are also a few players who spent time with the Panthers with the most recent one being cornerback Captain Munnerlyn who the Bills just signed over the weekend. Before coming back to South Carolina he said he was going to do a lot of trash talking and joked after practice about it.
"There was a lot you know there was a lot. They were joking with me about my number and different things like that. Me and Cam [Newton] had words here and there but it was all fun," Captain Munnerlyn explained.
Ties to Buffalo on the Panthers also include tight end Chris Manhertz who played basketball at Canisius College and former Bills wide receiver Chris Hogan who the Panthers signed in April after the Patriots released him.
"I love coming out here and seeing some of these guys I mean there's not many guys left on the team from when I was there I mean Jerry [Hughes] and Lee Smith is back here and then some of the coaches," Chris Hogan said.
Hogan spent the first four years of his career with the Bills and said he will always remember the team that gave him his start.
"Buffalo was my first opportunity, I'll never forget that. That was my first opportunity to play in the league and play special teams, receiver. I had a great four years in Buffalo and I had a lot of great friendships I still have to this day," Hogan explained. "Every single time I come back I look forward to seeing those tailgates and everything I mean these fans they're all out here, they're everywhere. That's something I took away is that city really cares about its team."
The Bills have one more joint practice with the Panthers on Wednesday morning at Wofford College before an rest day on Thursday then their second preseason game in Charlotte on Friday.