Yesterday, we explored Kevin Matthews’ deep bloodlines in the NFL. His Hall of Fame father, Bruce Matthews, is of Oilers/Titans fame and his cousin is current Green Bay Packer All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews III.
Matthews, though, is the only current family member with the luxury of calling Washington, D.C. home.
Last year Redskins running back Alfred Morris, of the lesser known Morris clan, burst onto the scene galloping to a franchise record 1,613 yards.
Morris became quarterback Robert Griffin III’s go-to sidekick when the burgundy and gold lined up in the pistol formation.
No. 46, however, has his own Robin to his Batman—Birmingham Southern running back and little brother Shawn Morris.
While Alfred was running over NFC East rivals last year, the younger Morris was putting the finishing touches on an incredible collegiate career with a 1,000 yard season and All-SAA honors his senior year.
After finishing second in the NFL in rushing yards just one year after being drafted in the sixth round out of Florida Atlantic, the elder Morris opened the door for small school running backs, proving that they can be instant contributors. Shawn is one of those backs that have been given an opportunity to see if he can replicate his older brother’s success.
“I think Alfred Morris, my brother, he paved the way for me being kind of unknown and coming in and showing out in the NFL, basically putting our name out there and me I was All-American in division III and just showing flashes of talent even though I’m not playing against the caliber talent of D1 [players], that I can make some plays.”
For anyone that has kept tabs on Alfred since being drafted last year, you know that he is the definition of a family man. His admiration for his family’s support has kept No. 46’s engine running even during the dog days of summer at last year’s training camp when some thought he might not even make the active roster.
Most were shocked that a sixth round rookie was the starting for the Redskins opening day alongside the Heisman-winning Griffin III. Count Shawn, however, as one that wasn’t stunned by the opening day development.
“I was surprised that he did it so fast, but I knew his talent, I knew what he can do [he] just needed an opportunity and once he got that opportunity he just showed out. That first game I saw against the Saints and I saw what he did I was like this is about to be a crazy season for him. It was great watching him.”
Growing up the two were nearly inseparable, even in their earliest days.
“Oh growing up [we] we’re Batman and Robin. I’ve always been Robin, he’s been Batman. It’s a funny story my mom tells all the time, when I was a baby and he was a little toddler he used to always tell my mom ‘don’t forget the baby’ she was talking about me. We’re real close, talk to him every day and he coaches me up.
Even though the two don’t share a house anymore they are still each other’s biggest fan, but as is the case with most sibling relationships, they can also criticize each other—all in good fun of course.
“Oh yeah I’ll bash him just like he’ll bash me. He came and watched my last game of the season and I had a pretty good game. I had like three touchdowns [and] 250 yards and every little thing he bashed me about. He was like ‘Hey you missed this block, you missed this cut. Man you could [have] done this better.’”
With a brother that has already had his first dip into the NFL, you knew that the older Morris would be willing to give some pointers on making a successful transition from the collegiate ranks.
He could have told him how to elude NFL defenses or how he kept his body in peak condition until the end of the season like he did when he destroyed the Cowboy defense for 200 yards and three touchdowns in Week 17. Instead, Alfred’s top words of wisdom—be prepared for running backs coach Bobby Turner.
“If you all don’t know he’s a character, he’ a great guy though full of wisdom. He has helped Alfred grow into the guy he is now. A jumpstart mentally and I was prepared for whatever coach Bobby T. had for me.”
While Shawn’s future with the team is unknown as his appearance at last weekend’s rookie minicamp was a tryout, he knows that he has the skill set to cling to an NFL roster spot.
“If I don’t make it with the Redskins, I’ll keep working and I know I can make it eventually.”
If Shawn is anything like his older brother don’t discredit his chances of making a team and maybe we’ll be seeing a few more Morris brothers trickle into Redskins Park in the coming years—there are seven of the after all.
Tags: Alfred Morris, Kevin Matthews, Robert Griffin III, Shawn Morris
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