FOXBORO, Mass. — Sunday will bring about a first for the Vereen family, but it’s a moment they’ve looked forward to for a long time.
New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen has never shared the field with his younger brother, Chicago Bears safety Brock Vereen, but the two will knock heads at Gillette Stadium. Brock is a rookie starter for the Bears, and Shane is expected to keep seeing an increased workload for the Patriots with Stevan Ridley out for the season.
“Growing up, we talked about it a lot,” Shane said Tuesday in the Patriots’ locker room. “We were never on the field at the same time because of our age difference, but now we’ll finally get that chance, and we’re both really excited about it.”
The Vereen brothers are three years apart, so by the time Shane was a senior at Valencia (Calif.) High School, Brock was just a freshman. Given Shane’s tendency to line up split out wide at receiver, we might even see Brock covering his older brother.
“I have not been hit by my brother,” Shane said, laughing. “Not in pads.
“I definitely think he is looking forward to it. So am I.”
Shane said his family will come to Gillette Stadium for the game, and for now, their mother plans to wear “neutral colors.” Venita Vereen might wind up wearing Bears navy and orange, though. Shane said the younger Vereen always was the baby of the family.
“Of course. He’s the favorite, by far,” Shane said. “You can ask anybody. He was by far the favorite. It’s all right. I’ve learned to accept it and get on with it.”
Shane wouldn’t give a scouting report on his brother just yet, but he tries to watch the Bears any time the Patriots’ game doesn’t interfere.
“I’ll let you know in a couple days. I’m still looking at it,” Shane said of Brock’s NFL film.
The trash talk between the Vereen brothers hasn’t started yet, and despite their upcoming feud, they won’t cut off ties as they prepare to face off.
“I talk to him almost every single day, and that’s not going to change just because we’re playing,” Shane said. “It’s probably going to change the conversation a little bit, but no, we’ll still talk.”
Rivalry is nothing new for Shane and Brock, who grew up playing basketball and stick ball in their Valencia neighborhood. Shane said for the most part, he got the best of his younger brother — until their father Henry stepped in.
“He would go get my dad, then it would be 2-on-1 in basketball,” Shane said, laughing. “Other than that, I was good.”
Photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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