A wave of second-generation football players is about to hit the NFL like never before.
It’s certainly not unusual to see sons follow their fathers into the league, such as the Mannings and Grieses of quarterback fame and Kansas City offensive linemen Ed and Brad Budde.
This year’s NFL draft is filled not only with several sons of former NFL stars, but at least three — Alabama running back Mark Ingram, California defensive end Cameron Jordan and Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward — could be first-round draft picks, while another, Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews, may be a mid-round pick.
Their dads weren’t too shabby, either.
Mark Ingram’s father, Mark Sr., spent 10 years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl with the 1990 New York Giants; Heyward’s father, the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, was a rugged running back for five teams during an 11-year career; Jordan’s father, Steve, was a six-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Minnesota Vikings; and Matthews’ dad, Clay, spent 19 years as a linebacker for Cleveland and Atlanta.
Some sons have a difficult time living up to their fathers’ names and reputations.
Others, such as four-time MVP Peyton Manning, exceed expectations, even as the son of a former star such as Archie Manning was for the New Orleans Saints.
Three years ago, defensive end Chris Long, son of Hall of Fame defensive lineman Howie Long, was the second pick by St. Louis, and after a slow start to his rookie season, he has recorded 171/2 career sacks, including 81/2 in 2010.
“My son has had to deal with that his whole life,” said Howie Long, now an NFL analyst for Fox, “so by the time you get to the NFL, you’re either equipped and prepared to deal with it, or you’re not.
“I take the position of being in the shadows in regard to my son, and I did that at every level … high school, college and professional football.
“My boy is fine with who his dad is and comfortable in his own shoes.”
Matthews has the tallest family growing in the NFL.
His grandfather, Clay, played defensive end for San Francisco in the 1950s; his uncle Bruce was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans; and his brother, Clay, was a first-round pick by Green Bay in 2009.
“No matter where I go, I’ll definitely be trying to prove a name for myself and not be known as Clay’s son or Clay’s little brother,” Casey Matthews said. “That’s definitely a compliment, though.”
Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was allegedly stabbed in the stomach by his knife-wielding wife Friday, is “expected to make a full recover,” said his publicist Denise White, and should be OK in two or three weeks.
Marshall reportedly underwent emergency surgery Saturday in South Florida.
His wife, Michi Nogami-Marshall, 26, was arrested Friday on a domestic-violence charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Nogami-Marshall was released from jail on a $7,500 bond Saturday.
They met while students at Central Florida. They live in Southwest Ranches, which is near the Dolphins’ complex in Davie, Fla.