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Brothers Bullocks separated for first time

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Brothers Bullocks separated for first time By Larry Weisman, USA TODAY When rookie safety Josh Bullocks lines up with the New Orleans Saints at minicamp this weekend, he joins a new brotherhood. Daniel Bullocks returns an interception for a TD ...

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Old 06-09-2005, 06:07 PM   #1
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Brothers Bullocks separated for first time

Brothers Bullocks separated for first time
By Larry Weisman, USA TODAY
When rookie safety Josh Bullocks lines up with the New Orleans Saints at minicamp this weekend, he joins a new brotherhood.

Daniel Bullocks returns an interception for a TD during Nebraska's Red-White spring game in April. Brother Josh has his eye on NFL quarterbacks.
By Nati Harnik), AP

He'll try to relate to teammates who are nothing more than strangers, establish relationships, build the strong emotional ties so integral to the game. (Related item: NFL's siblings aplenty)

And he will miss his brother, the identical twin from whom he has rarely been separated.

Josh and Daniel Bullocks — Josh is the younger, by one minute — grew up in Chattanooga, Tenn., played a variety of sports and last year lined up as the University of Nebraska's starting safeties. But Josh opted for the NFL draft. Daniel stayed behind to play his senior season for the Cornhuskers.

They are adapting to lives apart for the first time in their 22 years.

"We always knew the NFL was going to be an opportunity and that it was also the chance of us being separated," Josh says by telephone from the family home in Chattanooga.

"Since we play the same position, we didn't want to come out at the same time. And it turned out I had a few more honors than my brother had. So I would have been in a better situation than he would have been, and this way we wouldn't be bumping heads in the draft process."

Same position, different skills

If twins have a special bond, it is all the more so for the identical ones. Height, weight, size, strength, the Bullocks mirrored each other for most of their lives. The Saints list Josh at 6-1, 207. Nebraska puts Daniel at 6-2, 210. Both chose sociology as a major.

"They were hard to tell apart," says Nebraska defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove. "It took some adjusting. They're built exactly the same. They look exactly the same. The easiest way to tell them apart was to see them in their jerseys."

Which is not the way they go through most of their life.

"They share so much genetically," says John F. Murray, a clinical and sport psychologist in West Palm Beach, Fla., who has studied sibling rivalries in sports. "And yet they are different people."

Their skills also differed in some ways.

"Josh was a kid I liked a lot. Daniel wasn't as developed," says Frank Coyle, publisher of www.draftinsiders.com, which has charted prospects for 15 years. "Josh was in a situation where he was able to make more plays, playing that center field position. That opportunity may be presented to his brother this year."

In high school, Daniel quarterbacked the team and threw his touchdown passes to Josh. On defense, they both lined up in the secondary. Except for a couple of games their sophomore year, when Josh sat out with an ankle injury, they have been on the field together. At Nebraska, they were roommates.

Then came decision day.

"The whole process was kind of crazy," says Josh, taken in the second round (40th overall) by the Saints, a mild surprise to go that high. "Even when I declared for the draft, I was thinking about my brother and if I should take this step. I'd be missing my brother. He'd be in college and I'd be in the NFL, and we are so used to playing with each other.

By the New Orleans Saints
Josh Bullocks worked out at this year's Saints minicamp.

"We made the decision when we were home in December with the family. And then me and my brother had to drive back to Nebraska, and it was just hard on both of us. I was like, 'I'm not going to go, man, because I just won't feel comfortable without you on the field or just being there without you at all.'

"It was really hard on me, and I thought twice about it," Josh says. "But my mom told me, 'Make your decision and stick with it like a man.' And that's what I ended up doing."

Coyle says the extra college year for Daniel "is something that could put him over the top (for the 2006 draft). It's a very average group of safeties going forward, and a lot of kids really take that leap in their senior season. If he makes big plays, shows improvement and runs well, the sky's the limit."

Adds Rob Rang of nfldraftscout.com, "Daniel is a quality safety. He's a little bit better tackler than his brother. I think of him as a second- or third-round pick."

Nebraska's defensive scheme changed last year when a new coaching staff took over, and a second season in the same system ought to benefit Daniel.

"He had an outstanding spring. He showed tremendous improvement — understanding the coverages, being in a good football position at the point of attack — in his overall confidence," Cosgrove says. "We expect him to be a leader for us. He has the respect of his teammates."

Constant contact

Cosgrove would love to still have both brothers in the secondary, but he's glad to have at least one. It's more complicated at home.

The Bullocks' mother, Gerline "Peaches" Williams, had grown accustomed to seeing them side by side and enjoyed the family trips by car to Lincoln a couple of times a season to watch them. Now she's trying to figure out how to see Daniel play on Saturday and Josh on Sunday.

"It's been pretty difficult," she says. "The decision took a toll on me. I know their feelings due to the separation. They've always done things together and shared things, and I can see their hurt."

Brothers on and off the field
Daniel Bullocks expects to join brother Josh in the NFL next year. They will find plenty of company among siblings spread around the league.

When NFL teams opened training camps in 2004, a record five sets of brothers were competing for jobs at quarterback alone, with Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts) and Eli Manning (New York Giants) enjoying the highest profile.

The NFL tracked at least 26 sets of brothers last season, from A (the Philadelphia Eagles' Shawn Andrews and the Cincinnati Bengals' Stacy Andrews, both offensive tackles) to T (the Chicago Bears' Rex Tucker and the Cleveland Browns' Ryan Tucker, also offensive tackles).

Josh says he can offer plenty of guidance to his brother when agents start making offers and promises."A lot of guys go through the process, and people lie to them and lead them in the wrong direction. I can look out for him," he says.

His short list of topics on which he can advise: "How to do interviews, what to work on for strength and speed and to make sure the right people that worked for me will be the same right people working for him."

By Larry Weisman

In January, Josh's agents, Steve Feldman and Josh Luchs, arranged for him to come to Los Angeles to train for the NFL scouting combine the following month. He ran on the beach, attended basketball games, enjoyed the balmy weather.

But he thought often of Daniel, enduring winter on the plains.

"That was the first time we were separated for that long a period of time," Josh says. "I was missing him. I was talking to him every day, calling like 10 times a day, telling him what I did. We're so used to doing everything together and giving each other feedback.

"So everything I did in California, I would call and tell him. It was very difficult at that time. I was out there in the hot weather, and he was back there in the cold in Nebraska."

Daniel got his bit of culture shock at Nebraska's spring practices, when he trotted out to his customary post at strong safety and the free safety was someone other than his mirror image.

"It just felt weird, not having Josh around," he says.

It might feel weird for the foreseeable future. "How do you deal with not having your brother right across from you? It's going to be gradual," Murray says. "They knew this was coming."

Which doesn't make it easier.

Tiki and Ronde Barber, also identical twins, played together at Virginia, the former at running back, the latter at cornerback. They entered the draft the same year (1997), with Tiki selected in the second round by the New York Giants and Ronde in the third by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

They spent a lot of time and energy staying in touch.

"Daniel's experience at college is going to be difficult, and Josh's is going to be eye-popping because the NFL is not about fun; it's a job," Tiki says. "I think the best thing they can do is what Ronde and I did — talk very often. You get used to seeing someone when you've been apart maybe five days in 20 years."

Time and personal change eventually ease the ache. Tiki says the healing began about three years into his NFL career, after he got married.

"When you have a significant other," he says, "you miss your brother, but it's not the first thing on your mind."

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