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Brotherly Love? Tristin McCollum prepares for a battle against his twin

Tristin McCollum
Tristin McCollum

Eagles safety Tristin McCollum is preparing for his playoff debut knowing there will be a familiar face on the opposing sideline – his twin brother.

Zyon McCollum is a second-year cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"He has been talking trash, so I am talking right back to him," Tristin said. "There is a little more tension this week, but at the end of the day, it is all love. It is going to be fun."

The McCollum twins had been playing football together up until their NFL journeys started. The two attended Sam Houston State where they were starters in the secondary. Zyon was drafted by the Bucs in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft while Tristin signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent.

There is a chance that the two will line up against each other on special teams where Tristin is a gunner and Zyon is a jammer.

"We could end up competing against each other, so it'll be like we are back in the backyard," Tristin said.

The pair discussed the possibility of playing each other in the playoffs after the teams met in Week 3. Tristin was on the practice squad while Zyon was on the active roster, recording six tackles and one pass defense.

Tristin called the battle of the brothers the "craziest coincidence."

You may be asking, who the McCollum family is rooting for?

His mom, Tisha, answered that question when she had a split jersey made with both of her sons' team colors and numbers represented on it.

"She is going to be rooting for both of us," Tristin said. "I don't know how she is going to handle it because she loves both of us to death. She just wants to see us both have fun and be safe."

While the brothers may be playing against each other on Monday, they have never been closer.

"We are really, really close," Tristin said. "We call each other every day, sometimes even multiple times per day, just to check in and help each other out."

Tristin McCollum
Tristin McCollum

For Tristin, his journey in the NFL is just taking off.

In the regular-season finale against the New York Giants, Tristin played the first defensive snaps of his career, making six tackles.

"It felt really good to go out there, especially after 18 weeks of watching the older guys do their thing," Tristin said. "It was nice to get out there and get my own little taste."

Tristin was elevated from the practice squad three times this season. In his previous two games, he only featured on special teams, playing 37 total snaps.

Special Teams Coach Michael Clay has taken notice of Tristin's abilities whether it is in practice or in a game.

"Tristin has done an unbelievable job," Clay said. "When he's not called up on game day, he helps with the practice squad, give us looks of the opposing team; but when his number is called, he's very attentive. He knows exactly what he's supposed to do on his assignment, and he's helped us a lot."

Prior to Monday night's Wild Card game, Tristin was elevated from the practice squad alongside cornerback Mekhi Garner.

With Sydney Brown out for the season and Reed Blankenship questionable with a groin injury, Tristin will be ready if his number is called in his playoff debut.

"I am preparing the same way I would for any game," Tristin said. "I don't like to change anything up. I just like to keep the main thing the main thing. Just like the other weeks, I am going to embrace whatever role comes my way."

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