Monday, April 26, 2004

Football runs in the family


Defensive end Robert Geathers Jr.

By Kevin Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Robert Geathers Jr. wasn't born with a football in hand, but it was pretty close.

Robert Geathers, DE, Georgia
Height/Weight: 6-3, 270
DOB: Aug. 11, 1983
College: Georgia
2003 stats: 14 games started, 33 tackles, 3 sacks, 5 tackles for losses, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception
2004 projection: Adds depth at defensive end.
Personal: From Georgetown, S.C.; sports studies major; father, Robert Geathers Sr., played six seasons with the Bills; uncle Jumpy Geathers recorded 62 sacks in 183 career games with the Saints, Redskins, Falcons and Broncos.
"My dad gave me a football when I was 3 years old," the Georgia defensive end said Sunday. "The first thing I remember is carrying that ball around the house, running from him."

The Geathers name is a familiar one in NFL circles.

Father Robert Geathers Sr. played six seasons with the Bills. Uncle Jumpy Geathers was a noted pass rusher for four NFL teams.

"I remember the first professional game I went to was in New Orleans in about 1986," Geathers said. "That's when I put in my head what I wanted to do, be a professional football player."

The Bengals chose Junior, as he is called back home in South Carolina, with their second fourth-round pick (117th overall) in the NFL Draft on Sunday.

"(My dad and uncle) were very excited," Geathers said. "I talked to my uncle and he congratulated me then said it was time to go to work."

Because he left Georgia a year early - he was listed as the second-string defensive end in spring drills - there is plenty of work to do.

"I want to contribute right away whether it be special teams or whatever," he said. "I'm just going to come in with my mind set that I'm going to contribute in one way."

The Bengals were drawn to the 6-foot-2, 273-pound Geathers because of his speed (4.90 in the 40-yard dash), athleticism and upside.

"He really has a chance to develop as a fine outside rusher," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. "He could end up as a left or right end in the NFL."

Geathers started all 14 games for the Bulldogs last season as the strong-side defensive end, and played in 39 overall from 2001-2003.

He had 33 tackles last season, including five for losses, and 81 total at Georgia.

"You look at him and he's got long, long arms and huge hands," Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes said.

"I think he'll very much understand how the NFL works because of his bloodlines and respect of the game."

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E-mail kkelly@enquirer.com




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