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For Seahawks Linebacker Mychal Kendricks, Playing Against Brother Is "A Bitter-Sweet Thing"

When the Seahawks host the Vikings on Monday night, linebacker Mychal Kendricks will face his brother, Eric, who plays linebacker for Minnesota. 

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks (56) waits for the snap during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday Oct. 20, 2019 in Seattle. The Ravens defeated the Seahawks 30-16. (Greg Trott via AP)
Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks (56) waits for the snap during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday Oct. 20, 2019 in Seattle. The Ravens defeated the Seahawks 30-16. (Greg Trott via AP)

While most people will use Thanksgiving as an excuse to get together with family and friends this week, the Kendricks family, Monday Night Football will be the reason to celebrate together.

For the fourth time since they both became NFL linebackers, Mychal Kendricks and his younger brother, Eric, will face each other when the Seahawks host the Vikings Monday night. The two also met in the preseason this year, in Seattle's regular-season win over Minnesota last season, and most notably, in the NFC championship game two seasons ago when Mychal played for the Eagles, who went on to win Super Bowl LII.

"It's a time for (our family) to get together, so they really enjoy it," Mychal said. "One brother has to lose, and one has to win, so it's kind of like a bitter-sweet thing, but it's just another game for us at this point."

Talking to reporters in Minnesota, Eric Kendricks said he's grateful to get another chance to face his brother in an NFL game.

"Absolutely," he said. "You have to take a little time to reflect on how far we've come to the NFL. It's always a blessing for my family, getting to watch us. Us taking the field together—we don't play against each other really—but it's pretty special when I get to see him across the field."

While the Kendricks brothers are each other's biggest fans, they don't actually watch each other's games very often.

"I get too nervous," Mychal explained. "He doesn't watch my games, I don't watch his games. I just kind of hear about it, 'Oh, your brother played good.' Great. I don't check on his stats or anything… He's someone I care about a lot, so I'm highly critical, and I don't feel like playing two games. I have my own games to worry about, let alone his. If I'm watching his games, I get too stressed. As a linebacker, we both know what we're supposed to be doing, and it just gets stressful."

That doesn't mean, however, that Mychal isn't aware of the season his little brother is having, recording a team-leading 86 tackles as well as 12 passes defensed.

"He's killing it," Mychal said. "I see him doing his thing, I see the highlights."

Mychal Kendricks is also having a very strong season in his own right, recording 62 tackles, 3.0 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and four passes defensed. Facing his former team, Kendricks had 11 tackles in Sunday's win over the Eagles.

"For Kendricks to go back to Philadelphia, a place where he started, was a big deal to him," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He wanted to play well. He had 11 tackles in the game. He had a lot of really good tackles and played great football for us. It was nice to come through for him. He handled it well. I was watching him all during the week. I talked to him a few different times about it. I didn't want him to get over hyped about it and try do too much. He was handling it. He went into the game and played really well and did a really nice job. It was a nice come through for him."

And now after going through the emotions of facing the team that drafted him, Mychal Kendricks will play against his brother for the third straight year.

"He comes back from Philadelphia and now he's going to play his brother," Carroll said. "… We've already started talking about it. To me, that's an important part of preparing to compete at your best and not be distracted by stuff that could get you. This is an unusual situation for those guys to be going against each other. His brother is a really good player and he's a really good player. I know that they're going to be banging. I can't imagine that they don't have something that they'd like to get across to one another, which I think is cool as long as we do a good job on our end and control it and not let it take him out of his game."

Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 12 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Eye on the Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.