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Watkins Preps For Brotherly Showdown


Eagles cornerback Jaylen Watkins and his half-brother Sammy, the talented wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, have spent the majority of their lives playing football. Growing up in Cape Coral, Florida, the Watkins brothers started playing football around the age of five, but never played on the same team because of their one-year age difference. Although they started young, Jaylen and Sammy didn't face each other until ages 10-11 in Pop Warner.

The few times that Jaylen and Sammy played against each other, the competition was fierce. At first, the Watkins brothers both played quarterback, but when Jaylen started playing defense their competition progressed.

"Everything we did we always had a competition, but like a silent competition," said Jaylen. "Never combative, it was just like he knew and I knew that we were competing and it was a good thing to have."

Pop Warner was the only time the Watkins brothers played against each other. Believe it or not, their high schools were separated by just five miles, but were in different districts. As for college, Jaylen played for Florida (SEC) and Sammy played for Clemson (ACC). Their teams never met.

When Jaylen and Sammy made it to the NFL, it seemed as though they might actually have the chance to face off against each other. Jaylen was drafted by the Eagles in 2014, the same year Sammy was selected by the Bills, and the two marked off an important date on their calendars this season – December 13, 2015.

Catch up with some of the Buffalo Bills' key players that the Eagles will face in Week 14. View the full gallery here...

When the Bills travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles this Sunday it'll be the first time the brothers have faced each other since they were kids.

The road to get to this point, however, has not been an easy one. While the Watkins brothers thought they would be lining up against each other in the Bills vs. Eagles game, their plans soon changed when Jaylen was released from the Eagles at the end of 2015 Training Camp. Just when it seemed like a far-fetched dream, Jaylen got a call from the Bills.

"You have a dream that if you and your brother are playing in the NFL that maybe one day you'll play with each other," said Jaylen.

Jaylen joined the Bills as a member of the practice squad, which meant that he got to play with his brother Sammy every day in practice. After years of playing in separate states for different teams, it was even more beneficial for the Watkins brothers to finally play together.

"We were able to spend a lot of time together, obviously competing against each other and getting each other better," said Jaylen. "There were no hard feelings in the competition, it was just really hard work like we were back at home."

After just over two months with the Bills, Jaylen was signed to the Eagles' roster on November 27, right after Thanksgiving. Now back in Philadelphia, Jaylen is still working hard with his brother in mind, and has turned his valuable experience with the Bills into some advantages heading into Sunday's game.

"It's going to be crazy," said Jaylen. "In the same year, we have played together and are going to play against each other. Obviously (from being in Buffalo), I have a little more knowledge from covering their receivers, and just my brother in general, from working together since we were little."

December 13 is back on for the Watkins brothers who will meet in Philadelphia with their father, grandfather and Jaylen's mother in attendance. 

"I know there are a lot of brothers in the league, but I don't know if they play opposite positions," said Jaylen. "I don't know how many brothers are corners/receivers, to the point where they could potentially go up against each other. That'll be very fun if it comes down to it."

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