Giants rookie cornerback Cor’Dale Flott as soon as was tackled off of a grimy pebble-lined subject into the bushes by a a lot older child nicknamed “BamBam.” He emerged able to preserve taking part in.
That’s the form of toughness Bears rookie receiver Velus Jones Jr. got here to anticipate from his youthful second cousin, who was speculated to be on the other facet of the road of scrimmage Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Instead, the primary head-to-head battle between rookies “from a huge family tree,” who grew up two homes aside on the identical avenue in Saraland, Ala., should wait as a result of Flott is out with a calf harm, whereas Jones is anticipated to make his NFL debut.
“He was the little one trailing behind us, looking up to us,” Jones advised The Post by cellphone this week, referencing a gaggle that included Cor’Dale’s older brother WyDale, a former faculty soccer participant at Southern Mississippi. “When the bigger kids played football, he was right there in the mix tackling kids 4, 5, 6 years older than him. He was never afraid of anything.”
Jones, 25, spent six years in faculty (4 at USC and two at Tennessee). Flott, 21, spent three at LSU. Their paths allowed them to enter the NFL on the identical time. Almost actually.
“I called him when he got picked and he called me back when I got picked,” stated Flott, who was chosen 10 picks and about 45 minutes after Jones, within the third spherical of the 2022 draft. “We were in the same neighborhood at different spots that night. It was surreal. He’s like a brother to me.”
The celebration at Jones’ celebration nonetheless was ongoing when a visitor shouted out, “Look, Cor’Dale just got drafted!”
“It was meant to be. That’s how it happened,” Jones stated. “Everybody doesn’t get a chance to tell a story about people living on the same street who are blood-related both playing in the league. We were chosen, we worked our whole lives for this moment and we’re here now.”
No one at house is shocked.
“They were both kind of icons around the school and the community,” Saraland High School soccer coach Jeff Kelly stated. “Everybody is really proud because they know their character. These guys have zero entitlement, and it’s all about working hard and getting better. The backyard games that happened in their neighborhood were pretty dang impressive. When Cor’Dale’s time came, he was driven to proven that he was the best.”
The plan for the sport Sunday initially known as for “the whole neighborhood” to make the journey north, which had Flott “getting chills thinking about it.” A lowered crowd of about 10 will likely be on hand now, in response to Flott, who’s understandably “disappointed” to be lacking the sport. At first, Jones’ standing was unsure (he missed the primary three video games of his career with a hamstring harm), however Flott was injured throughout his second career begin final week and now could be reliant on a strolling scooter.
“There’s going to be definite trash-talking, but within love,” Flott stated earlier than his harm. “I know him like the back of my hand. Hanging with the older guys helped get to that level of competition when they were all hitting puberty and bigger and stronger than me. I had to adapt to play.”
The recreation of alternative at Skidmore Park for youths from the “Blackjacks” group of Saraland was “Pick Him Up and Bust Him.” It is understood in different neighborhoods as “Kill The Man with the Ball.” The goal is straightforward: Whoever catches a ball thrown into the air tries to outrun a pack of pursuing tacklers.
Flott and Jones have gone from the underside of these piles to the highest of the soccer world.
“It’s crazy to see our dream actually came true,” Jones stated. “We’ll have to swap jerseys after the game, and I know they will be having a watch party in the Blackjacks.”