In an ironic twist which could only be characterized as “Foxboro full-circle,” Underwood’s return to the organization was reported 12 years later during Super Bowl LVIII.
The Patriots, per a Sports Illustrated report, are “in the process” of hiring Underwood — who played one season (2011) with the club — as their assistant receivers coach. The 36-year-old most recently served as the receivers coach and passing game coordinator for the University of Pittsburgh.
Underwood began his NFL career as a seventh-round (No. 253 overall) selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars out of Rutgers in 2009. After two seasons, primarily as a Jags scout teamer, he signed with the Patriots in August 2011. Despite being released and subsequently re-signed on two separate occasions throughout the year, the New Brunswick, NJ native found a way to remain on the New England which captured the AFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XLVI. However, Underwood was released on Feb. 12, 2012 — one night before their 21-17 loss to the Giants. During his time in New England, Underwood caught three passes for 30 yards in a combined eight games.
Among his teammates on New England’s 2011 squad was current Pats head coach Jerod Mayo.
Following brief stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers and the CFL, Underwood transitioned from player to coach. He served as receivers coach at Lafayette in 2018, before moving into offensive quality control role with the Miami Dolphins in 2019. Underwood returned to Rutgers in 2020, where he coached receivers for two seasons. Prior to reportedly taking the job in New England, he had been with the Pitt Panthers since 2022.
While an official announcement regarding the identity of New England’s receivers coach in 2024 has yet to occur, Troy Brown — who has served as a Patriots offensive assistant since 2020, and held the role in 2023 — recently coached the offense of the American team in this year’s Senior Bowl. Whether his services as receivers coach will be retained on Mayo’s staff in 2024 is still a matter of conjecture.