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Geathers Family Values
Austin Murphy
June 03, 2013
FROM DOWN ALONG THE BLACK RIVER IN SOUTH CAROLINA, FOOTBALL'S FIRST FAMILY OF D-LINEMEN JUST KEEPS SENDING ITS SONS TO THE PROS. THE BLOODLINES ARE STRONG—AND SO ARE THE LESSONS PASSED FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT
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June 03, 2013

Geathers Family Values

FROM DOWN ALONG THE BLACK RIVER IN SOUTH CAROLINA, FOOTBALL'S FIRST FAMILY OF D-LINEMEN JUST KEEPS SENDING ITS SONS TO THE PROS. THE BLOODLINES ARE STRONG—AND SO ARE THE LESSONS PASSED FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT

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And then there are the outliers, like cousin Carlton Geathers, a 6'10", 255-pound sophomore at South Carolina. Carlton's not working this camp. "He doesn't play football," Dab explains. "He plays basketball."

When the event comes to a close, a modest battalion of Geatherses and friends descends on Debra and Dab's place, where vast amounts of chicken are already sizzling in a barrel-sized grill in the backyard. Nailed to the wall of the garage, out of company's view, are the pelts of two raccoons recently bagged and skinned by Clifton, the family's designated outdoorsman. Earlier in the spring he took his brothers skeet shooting, with mixed results. "Robert only hit three clays out of 30," reports Clifton, unable to suppress a grin, "so he got pissed and sat down."

He enjoys the role reversal. While Robert is now the longest-tenured Bengals player and a key cog in coordinator Mike Zimmer's defense (which has ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in three of the last four seasons), Clifton is perpetually on the bubble. And perpetually upbeat. "Nobody's gonna outwork me," he says. "That's why I'm still in the league."

This afternoon the brothers are going for a short ride on two of the ATVs that live in Dab's garage, bouncing around the property, huge men dwarfing their vehicles like Shriners in a parade. Neither is wearing a helmet, which makes their father nervous.

"Lord help us," says Dab. As he speaks, he's standing near the pines named for his sons. The trees are well over 100 feet tall, and flourishing, and it's clear that he is already blessed.

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