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Original Issue


Part of the fun in being an NFL defensive back is finding out
all there is to know about the man you're covering. In the
process you just might discover he's a long lost relative. So
when the Redskins and Cowboys changed sides after the first
quarter of their Oct. 12, 1986, game in Dallas, Washington
cornerback Darrell Green figured it was time for a little family
get-together. "My mother says we're related," he said to Mike
Sherrard, then a rookie receiver for Dallas who now plays for
the Giants. "Yeah," Sherrard replied, "my mother says the same

The players' family trees were intertwined two generations ago
when Green's grandmother's sister married Sherrard's
grandfather's brother. But with Green growing up and attending
college in Texas, and Sherrard doing the same in California, the
two had never met before the Redskins and Cowboys switched end
zones that day. "I've got tons of Sherrard cousins--when I was
little, we lived near some Sherrards--but I never knew Mike
growing up," says Green. Sherrard, in fact, was a bit skeptical
when his mother, Cherrie, first told him of the relationship. "I
said, 'Mom, you're just trying to find someone famous in our
family tree,'" he says of Green, a five-time Pro Bowl selection.

NFL games have served as forums for several larger
Sherrard-Green family reunions. During games, however, any
familial goodwill is confined to the stands. "When the game's
going on, I'm trying to beat him and he's trying to cover me,"
says Sherrard. In fact, a minor family squabble still remains
over a play in that Redskin-Cowboy game in 1986. In the fourth
quarter Sherrard beat Green for a 27-yard touchdown, but replays
showed that Green had clearly made an interception before both
players fell to the ground clutching the ball. All told, Green
has met Sherrard on the field in nine games over their careers,
and the Giants' 24-15 victory over the Redskins on Sunday night
was the eighth time Sherrard's side has won. "He definitely has
the lead on me, but I'm looking to close the gap," says Green.
"I'm glad we're related, but I'm not going to give him the upper


COLOR PHOTO: CHRIS USHER Despite their on-field battles, Sherrard and Green know that family matters. [Mike Sherrard and Darrell Green]