The Nassib brothers will meet Sunday as the Giants take on the Browns:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ryan Nassib remembers the moment when he realized his little brother Carl was no longer so little.
"I came home from college (Syracuse) one time later in my career," Nassib said. "All of a sudden it was out of nowhere. One wrestling match during winter break, I found out quickly that I couldn't get away with some of the stuff I used to. I could still take him because I'm the older brother, but he could make it a fair deal now."
Ryan, the Giants' fourth-year backup quarterback, is 6-2 and 223 pounds, but he has no interest in wrestling his not-so-little brother now. Carl has grown to 6-7 and 275 pounds and is a backup defensive end for the Cleveland Browns. On Sunday, the brothers will be on opposite sidelines when the Giants visit the Browns in First Energy Stadium.
"It is definitely different," Ryan said. "I have never played with him, never played against him, so this will be a first for me, being on the same field as him. I think it is going to be interesting, but once the game gets started and the ball gets rolling, it is going to be like any other game."
Ryan is three years older than Carl, so their football paths have not been parallel.
"When I started tackle, he was in flag," Ryan said. "When I went to high school, he was starting tackle. We were always missing each other. He was going into flag football when I was going into regular football. I was going into high school when he was going into middle school football. He was a freshman when I was a senior. When I graduated, he started playing high school. We just missed each other. A lot of the times, I watch more games of him on video and tape than I get a chance to watch live. Some you regret, but that's just kind of how it worked out."
Ryan was a star quarterback at Malvern (Pa.) Prep and Syracuse, where he started 38 consecutive games and threw for more than 9,000 yards and 70 touchdowns. The Giants selected him on the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft and he has been a backup to Eli Manning ever since. Nassib has yet to appear in a game this season.
Carl Nassib never started a game at Malvern and was a walk-on at Penn State. But he kept improving and eventually played in 36 games with 13 starts. More importantly, as a senior in 2015, Carl set a Penn State single-season record with a nation-leading 15.5 sacks. He also led all FBS players with six forced fumbles and earned All-America honors and won the Lombardi Award, Ted Hendricks Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Big Ten's Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year Award.
The Browns selected him on the third round of this year's draft (65th overall). Carl has played in nine games with two starts (he was inactive for two games with a hand injury) and totaled 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
"He was a little bit of a late bloomer," Ryan said. "He grew late and filled in late. This is really only his true second year of playing a full season of football. He really only had the one year at college when he was an every down player. It's been a long time coming for him."
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Ryan said the brothers will have no unusual interactions this week, either professionally or personally.
"It was a little weird at first in game plan meetings, but now it is just another opponent and another defense to prepare for," he said.
"We talk about once a week. Mainly through text, but a lot of our conversations aren't about football, they are about all different kinds of things. (This week) we'll talk the same. It is a little different with him on defense and myself on offense. Other brothers around the league are kind of on the same side of the ball (and) can kind of trade tips about different teams. But he looks at offensive opponents and I look at defensive opponents. A lot of times those things don't really cross paths, so our conversations about normal life stuff will kind of stay at the core."
No matter what happens Sunday, Ryan will remain extremely proud of his young brother who didn't start in high school, but set records at one of the nation's most-renowned football schools and is an NFL contributor.
"It's unbelievable," Ryan said. "He's got a great story. Everything he has coming to him is well-deserved. From not playing to playing, it's all been hard work, determination and getting better every day. He's a real inspiration to not only me, but to a lot of kids that have been in his position as well."
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