Continuing the coverage of Redskins great Darrell Green on his 52nd birthday, I ran across an article on Green in the Nov. 1995 issue of Sports Illustrated.
It turns out that in the Oct. 12, 1986 game, Green had the responsibility of covering his cousin, Mike Sherrard, a rookie wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.
As of kickoff, the two had never met, and weren’t even really sure that they were related. But as Seth Davis writes in his SI article, it was Green who broke the ice while the teams switched sides after the first quarter:
“My mother says we’re related,” he said to Mike Sherrard, then a rookie receiver for Dallas…”Yeah,” Sherrard replied. “My mother says the same thing.”
And from such humble introductions, a family was reunited and a bond was formed. It turns out that Green’s grandma’s sister married Sherrard’s grandfather’s brother, and the pair share a set of great-aunts and uncles. While Green’s side of the family grew up and went to school in Texas (TA&I), Sherrard and his folks grew up and went to school in California (UCLA).
After the commercial break, the two lined up and played the remainder of the game as before. The Redskins came into the game with a perfect 5-0 record, but couldn’t get started against the Cowboys defense that day.
Likewise, Green held his rookie cousin to one catch for 11 yards through the first three quarters. Then, in the fourth quarter, Sherrard caught a contested 27-yard touchdown with Green in coverage, that put the Cowboys ahead 23-6.
For what it’s worth, Davis writes that instant replay would have overturned the call, as Green actually came down with the interception in the end zone. But in the pre-review era, the play stood, and the Sherrard side of the family tacked on six points.
Green’s Redskins squared off against Sherrard eight times in his career, with Sherrard’s teams winning seven. The cousins weren’t always lined up against each other, but Sherrard always found that extra motivation against Washington, catching a career-high 396 yards and six touchdowns in those eight games.
Always the competitor, this did nothing but motivate Green, who told Davis and SI is 1995:
“He definitely has the lead on me, but I’m looking to close the gap…I’m glad we’re related, but I’m not going to give him the upper hand.”
Sherrard would play only one more season, so it’s hard to say if that score was ever settled. But I’m sure Green’s induction into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame served as some sort of consolation.