While it is not too common, it is not entirely unheard of to see cousins, brothers, and even fathers and sons competing in the same professional sport, at the same time. The Sutter brothers, Maurice and Henri Richard, and Daniel and Henrik Sedin are among a few brother acts that have played in the NHL. Baseball has seen this as well with the Alous, DiMaggios, and the Molinas while the NBA has had the Gasols, Griffins, and the Grants. For some families, professional sports are in their blood.
The NFL has also seen their share of families slug it out on the gridiron. For the past several years, football fans have had the pleasure of watching Eli and Peyton Manning work their magic. Fans may even remember watching their father Archie during his playing days. Of course, there are several other NFLers that are closely related. In fact, over the years there have been countless players who have played with or competed against close relatives. Ronde and Tiki Barber, Ty and Coy Detmer, and Sterling and Shannon Sharpe are just a few examples of brothers who have played in the NFL.
Here are 15 NFL Players You Might Not Realize Are Related!
15 Clay, Casey, and Jake Matthews
Football truly runs in the blood of the Matthews family. It started with Clay Matthews Sr. who was an offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers in the early 50s. His son, Clay Matthews Jr., was a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker who had a standout career with the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons between 1978 and 1996. The next generation of Matthews has taken the same path as their forefathers.
Clay Matthews III has enjoyed a stellar career with the Green Bay Packers. The six-time Pro Bowler won a Super Bowl in 2011. The lumbering linebacker is a fan favorite in Green Bay. Clay also has two relatives, Casey (brother) and Jake (cousin) who have made names for themselves in the NFL. Casey, also a linebacker, spent the 2015 season in Minnesota after spending his first four years with the Philadelphia Eagles. Jake Matthews is an offensive tackle with the Atlanta Falcons.
14 Shane and Brock Vereen
27-year-old Shane Vereen has had a nice start to his career. The running back played for the University of California before being picked in the second round of the 2011 draft. In his four years with the Pats, Vereen had 217 carries for 907 yards and 7 touchdowns. Before the start of the 2015 season, Shane signed with the New York Giants where he had 61 carries for 260 yards. He might not be a Barry Sanders or a Walter Payton but Shane Vereen can be counted on to contribute, especially in the passing game. He has a Super Bowl ring which he won at Super Bowl XLIX with New England.
After Shane left the Patriots, New England signed his younger brother Brock. He is a 6’0’ free safety out the University of Minnesota who was drafted in 2014 by the Chicago Bears. He was released by Chicago in 2015 and he moved on with a quick stint on Minnesota’s practice squad. Failing to cut the mustard in Minny, he signed on with the Patriots in 2015.
12 Kwame, Robert, and Clifton Geathers
Robert, Clifton, and Kwame Geathers are all big guys with a talent for football. Robert, the eldest, was drafted in the fourth round in 2004. The 280-pound defensive end spent 11 years with the Bengals where he appeared in 152 games and recorded 34 sacks. He even has a fumble recovery for a touchdown to brag about. He was released after the 2014 season and has not played since. While he’s not officially retired, he might want to think about life after football.
His younger brother Clifton has also had a long career but it has been largely forgettable. The University of South Carolina product has been with eight teams since being drafted in the latter rounds of the 2010 draft. He signed with the Steelers in 2015 but a pre-season injury landed him on the injured reserve and he didn’t see any action. Like his older brother, Clifton is a free agent.
Then we have Kwame, the youngest of the three. He signed with San Diego as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He has since been released by the Chargers as well as the Bengals who gave him a shot. Like his brothers, Kwame is presently unemployed.
11 Jason and Devin McCourty
Jason and Devin McCourty are not only brothers, they are twins. Both of them played together at Rutgers. Jason was a late draft pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2009 and he has been with them ever since. The cornerback spent the late part of the 2015 season on the injured reserve list after suffering a groin injury that unfortunately required surgery. Look for him to make a full recovery in time to start the 2016 season. He is playing under a six-year, $43 million contract.
Devin McCourty has had a little more success. He was a first-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in 2010. He made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and he was part of the New England Patriots Super Bowl winning team in 2014. In March of 2015, Devin signed a 5-year deal with the Pats worth $47.5 million. Devin is a big part of the Patriots future.
10 Kyle and Chris Long
People might be familiar with Howie Long. He is an actor and a pitchman for several products. These days, he puts up with Terry Bradshaw’s antics as an analyst on Fox’s NFL Show. He was also a bruising defensive end for the Raiders between 1981 and 1993. He has passed on his football genes to his two sons, Chris and Kyle.
Like his father, Chris is a defensive end. He was drafted second overall by the Rams in 2008. He played with St. Louis through the 2015 season before signing a one-year deal with the New England Patriots for the 2016 season.
Kyle is a hulking guard who has played for the Chicago Bears since they selected him in the first round of the 2013 draft. The 6’6” and 313 pound behemoth is a three-time Pro Bowler who is under contract through 2017. He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in his rookie season and is a good bet to play in a few more.
9 Josh and Luke McCown
Hailing from Jacksonville, Texas, the McCown brothers have generally flown under the radar as NFL quarterbacks. Both of them have served the bulk of their careers as backups but they have had their moments in the spotlight. They have also bounced around the league. Luke has played for five teams, including two stints with the New Orleans Saints since entering the league as a fourth-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2004. Josh is playing on his seventh NFL team since being picked by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2002 draft.
Josh had some big moments in the 2015 season. He was given the starting job in Cleveland after Johnny Manziel’s infamous flame-out. He managed to set a Browns record by throwing for 457 yards in a rare Browns victory over Baltimore. Unfortunately for the 37-year-old veteran, he sustained several injuries which kept him sidelined for much of the season.
34-year-old Luke continues to warm the bench behind Drew Brees and has had his own health problems, including a back surgery which ended his 2015 season prematurely.
8 Jason and Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 and the 6’5” tight end has been a solid addition to the team. He was their leading receiver in 2014 with 67 receptions and 862 yards. He was criticized by coach Andy Reid after a game versus Denver in which he made a “jerk off” motion towards Von Miller. Tsk Tsk!! He has obviously matured given his brand new 5-year contract worth $47 million. He is also starring in his own television show called Catching Kelce where he will be trying to reel in women instead of footballs.
Jason Kelce is a Grizzly Adams look-alike who was picked late in the 2011 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. At 6’3” and 282 pounds, Jason isn’t the biggest center in the league, but he has speed and was selected to the 2014 Pro Bowl.
Both Kelce brothers are primed to enjoy long NFL careers.
7 Vernon and Vontae Davis
Vernon Davis is best known for his spectacular play at tight end while with the San Francisco 49ers. He is a two-time Pro Bowler who helped the Niners reach the Super Bowl in 2012. After nine and a half years in San Francisco, Vernon was sent to the Denver Broncos during the 2015 season where he finally won a Super Bowl ring. He has since signed a one-year deal with the Washington Redskins. His playing days are drawing to a close but he can still contribute to the Redskins.
Vernon’s younger brother, Vontae, is also an NFL standout. The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback was a track and field star in high school where he was noted for his blazing speed. The Miami Dolphins picked him in the first round of the 2009 draft. He played in Miami through 2011 but was traded to the Colts before the start of the 2012 season.
6 A.J. Green and T.J. Green
Football fans should be very familiar with Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver AJ Green. The 6’4” former Georgia Bulldog is an absolute stud. The Bengals made a wise choice when they drafted A.J. fourth overall in 2011. He had an immediate impact and he seems to get better and better. He has helped Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton improve as well by being a reliable target. A.J. has been virtually impervious to injury and has put up over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first five seasons. He has been a Pro Bowler every year he’s played and that trend does not look like it will change anytime soon.
A.J.’s younger cousin T.J. was just drafted in 2016. Selected in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts, the 6’2” safety out of Clemson will look to bolster the Colts’ sagging defense in the 2016 season. The 21-year-old T.J. can actually play on both sides of the ball, as he was a wide receiver in his junior year at Clemson.
5 Brent and Garrett Celek
Brent Celek was a late draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007 and it is safe to say that the 261 pound tight end has exceeded all expectations. He’s not blessed with the quickest feet but he has great hands. Along with being a very reliable receiver, Brent possesses very good blocking skills. In 143 games played, Celek has 371 receptions for 4,713 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also has three touchdowns in six playoff games. Brent recently signed a three-year contract extension worth $13 million.
Brent’s younger brother Garrett is a tight end too. Standing 6’5", he’s a little taller than Brent, but he has yet to prove that he has the same skills as Brent. He went undrafted before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. With the departure of Vernon Davis, Garrett has the opportunity to get more playing time and prove what he can do. The Niners must see his potential after they recently signed him to a four-year, $10.2 million extension.
3 Marshawn Lynch and Josh Johnson/JaMarcus Russell
Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch announced his retirement following the 2015 season but there are rumblings of a possible return. There is little doubt that the 30-year-old running back still has some big plays left in him. Beast Mode, a five-time Pro Bowler, helped lead the Seattle Seahawks to their first ever championship at Super Bowl XLVIII. Had coach Pete Carroll opted to run the ball instead of passing in the late stages of Super Bowl XLIX, there is a good chance that Lynch would have scored to give the Seahawks a second consecutive championship.
Marshawn’s cousin Josh Johnson has not enjoyed the same success as Marshawn, but he has been able to carve out a long career. Most of his playing days have been spent on the bench while bouncing around between several teams. He is now a member of the Baltimore Ravens where he is an odds-on favorite to ride the pine some more.
Marshawn also has a cousin by the name of JaMarcus Russell who the football world is trying hard to forget about.
The Fuller family has definitely left their mark on the NFL. Kyle was a first round pick in 2014 and he got off to a fast start. He had three interceptions and forced a pair of fumbles through his first three games. That’ll bring attention. The 24-year-old cornerback out of Virginia Tech signed a four-year contract worth $9.6 million dollars in 2014. It’s safe to say that if he can come close to replicating his early success that he could find himself collecting a nice chunk of change with his next contract.
21-year-old Kendall Fuller is also a cornerback who is has just begun his NFL journey. He was selected in the third-round of the 2016 and looks to make his debut this season with the Washington Redskins. Like his brother Kyle, Kendall played college football at Virginia Tech. Football fans will need to wait to see if Kendall can get off to the same kind of start as his older brother.
2 Geoff and Mitchell Schwartz
At 6’6” and 332 pounds, Geoff Schwartz is an intimidating offensive lineman. Since being drafted as a late pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2008, Geoff has moved around a bit. Carolina cut him loose after the 2011 season and Geoff has gone on to play with Minnesota, Kansas City, and the New York Giants. He recently signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Lions for the 2016 season. He has been dogged by the injury bug in recent yearsm but if he can stay healthym he might be able to find some stability.
His brother Mitchell is a 6’5” offensive lineman who started his career in Cleveland after being picked in the second round of the 2012 draft. He is known for his blocking skills and durability, as he has yet to miss a game. After the 2015 season, Mitchell hit free agency and then hit the jackpot when he signed a 5-year, $33 million deal with Kansas City. His new contract makes him one of the NFL’s highest paid tackles.
These NFL brothers fly under the radar mainly due to the fact that they are both punters. They are also bitter rivals. Dustin has been playing for the Kansas City Chiefs since he was drafted in 2005 while Britton has been hanging ‘em high Broncos since 2010. However, Britton can flash his brand new Super Bowl ring in Dustin’s face at their family gatherings. Of course, their father Craig Colquitt can flash the two Super Bowl rings that he won with the Pittsburgh Steelers between 1978 and 1984. It would be nice to see Dustin win one so that he doesn’t feel left out.
Britton can also take satisfaction in his 2011 where he punted for 4,783 yards. It was the fifth most yards ever punted in a season. Dustin can claim a victory in knowing that he is the highest paid punter in the NFL . He’s in the middle of a 5-year, $18.75 million deal. Pretty nice dough for a punter.
1 Aaron and Jordan Rodgers
Aaron and Jordan Rodgers are the NFL’s answer to Wayne and Brent Gretzky. Jordan has lived deep in his brother’s shadow to the point that he is pretty much an unknown. Aaron is a household name. Even non-football fans know who he is and how great he has been. Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP, five-time Pro Bowler, two-time NFL MVP, and the list goes on. Aaron quickly made Green Bay forget about Brett Favre when he finally took over the reigns in 2008. He has led the Pack to an 80-39 record with him under center while throwing for 32,399 yards and an incredible 257 touchdowns. He’s 32-years-old and still has a lot of gas left in the tank. It is anyone’s guess how many records he will hold by the time he retires.
Then we have his little brother. Jordan went undrafted but signed with the Jaguars in 2013. He was promptly released. He then signed with the Buccaneers later in the year but lasted only five months before Tampa gave up on him. Then it was off to Miami where he lost out on the third-string job. His last kick at the can was in the CFL but he couldn’t make it there so he left football and decided to pursue a career in acting. Cough.
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