It won’t be close to the same as when Eli and Peyton Manning have their teams lined up against each other. The Mannings are both quarterbacks and the only time they’re apt to smash into each other is after a scramble that sends one careening into the sideline bench where the other is looking at polaroids.
If brothers Chris and Kyle Long run into each other on Sunday, it won’t be nearly as civil.
Chris is the defensive left end for the St. Louis Rams. Kyle is the right guard for the Chicago Bears, tasked with being part of the praetorian guard around quarterback Josh McCown and keeping Chris at bay.
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They won’t go head-to-head by design. Chris is on the Rams’ left edge; Kyle is down inside, dealing with 6-6, 315-pound St. Louis defensive tackle Kendall Langford most of the afternoon.
But football is not played in a line of silos, and sooner or later Kyle will pull on a sweep right, or Chris will come loose on a looping stunt, and there they will be, somewhere they’ve never been in all their lives.
“I’ve never been on the same field with my brother and him wearing a uniform and me wearing a uniform,” Kyle said on Wednesday. “The closest I’ve been to him in action were open practices at the University of Virginia, where I’d stand there on the sidelines on my recruiting trips and watch him practice.”
The occasion of the two brothers, both first-round draft choices, playing against each other was enough for father Howie to be given the day off from his FOX studio duties to watch the game.
There is indeed more to the day than a football game. For both brothers.
“I’m very proud of him,” said Chris, the older by about four years. “When I watch film, I’m proud to say that’s my brother because I like the way he’s playing, and the rookie next to him, Jordan (Mills), is playing real good, too. They’re a good group, and Kyle is a big part of that.”
Kyle is clear that his older brother holds a place beyond special with him. Father Howie was a Hall of Fame defensive end with the Oakland Raiders, but Chris….
“People would usually think that my dad would be my idol, but my older brother is somebody that I’ve idolized,” Kyle said. “I’ve looked up to him my entire life. I try to emulate the things that he does on and off the field. I try to play with the same passion and motive that he does, which is really tough to do.”