St. Anne's-Belfield football coach John Blake has already made trips to see two of his former players -- St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long and his younger brother, Chicago Bears offensive guard Kyle Long -- play on their NFL home fields this season.
Blake won't be returning to St. Louis this weekend when the Long brothers go head-to-head. But he said the subject of Sunday's game came up with both during his recent visits.
"Both of them said the same thing. I don't think either one of them will know how to react until it really happens," Blake recalled on Thursday. "They're both going to play hard, and they're going to compete. And hopefully everything works out well."
Sunday's game will mark the first time the Long brothers have ever lined up across from one another, at any level of football. Chris is in his sixth year with the Rams, while Kyle is a rookie with the Bears. Both are sons of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long, now an analyst for FOX Sports.
Blake coached both Long brothers at STAB. Chris went on to become an All-American across town at Virginia, while Kyle -- after dabbling in college baseball -- wound up at Oregon.
"To be blessed enough to have actually coached both of them. To watch them grow up, to watch them both be picked in the first round. To be professional football players," Blake said Thursday. "For a high school football coach to have two of them is special."
"I'm very proud of them. I think the school is very proud of them," Blake added. "It's cool. It's a cool thing that we have a couple of kids from this school playing in the pros."
With Chris lining up at defensive end for the Rams, and Kyle playing guard for the Bears, the brothers are sure to collide at some point in Sunday's game. Blake says it will be "very interesting" the first time the brothers cross paths on the field.
"Somebody asked me about it today," he said. "And I said, "You know, hopefully it's a tie, and they really don't have to go out and hit each other." But they're going to. And I'm sure they're both well aware about what's going on. And I think they're both going to go out and have as much fun with it as they can."