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Sibling Rivalry: Cullen Jenkins Faces Brother's Team


When Packers defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins looks across the sideline on Monday night, he will see a familiar and familial face.

His older brother, Kris, plays defensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers, setting up a game for respect among the Jenkins family on Oct. 3.

"There are bragging rights," Cullen Jenkins said.

More would be on the line if Kris was healthy. After missing 12 games in 2004 with a shoulder injury, Kris tore knee ligaments in a 23-20 Week One loss to the New Orleans Saints and will not play again in 2005.

"He's been looking forward to this game for a long time," Cullen said. "So I wanted him to be out there to play against me."

His absence does more than lessen the competitive juices within the Jenkins family. Jenkins served as a crucial part of the Panthers defense. Stout against the run and a fierce pass rusher, he helped give the Panthers one of the league's best defensive lines and key their run to the Super Bowl in 2003.

"He had great push up the middle on pass rush," head coach Mike Sherman said. "He was very much a force for them. He's one of the top defensive lineman in the league."

Running back Ahman Green compared the Panthers being without Jenkins to the Packers being without Pro Bowl wide receiver Javon Walker. Both tore the anterior cruciate ligaments in their knee.

"He's a big guy who takes up the middle," Green said. "They have to adjust with him not being there just like we have to adjust without Javon."

Green knows first hand about Kris Jenkins' abilities. He faced him in the opening game of last season, also a Monday Night Football game at Bank of America Stadium. That game, a 24-14 Packers win, was Cullen's first in the NFL.

The score makes the game seem closer than it really was. The Packers had a 24-7 third quarter lead and gashed Jenkins and the defensive line for 152 yards on 47 rushes. Kris, however, did sack quarterback Brett Favre during the game.

Immediately after the game Cullen approached a visibly disappointed Kris. He was in no mood for some brotherly chiding.

"He said 'I don't want to hear it'," Cullen said.

Cullen never needled his brother about the game. After Kris suffered the shoulder injury, his recovery took precedent.

"I never had a chance to rub it in or anything like that because we never really had any get-togethers," Cullen said. "He got hurt and ended up having to do rehab all summer."

Although the Panthers do not have to face Jenkins, the Packers still have the daunting task of opening holes in the Panthers interior. Their defense ranks 12th in the league, and Sherman singled out the presence of 13-year-veteran Brentson Buckner.

"They have more than enough," he said. "Buckner's a force inside right there. He's a veteran player -- hard, heavy with his hands, a physical player. He's someone we certainly have to contend with."

The styles of play of the Jenkins brothers, separated in age by 17 months, are very different. The Packers tried Cullen, swift and 290 pounds, at defensive end during training camp. Kris is much more stout. He held University of Maryland weightlifting records for squat (700), bench press (450) and power clean (363).

"Shoot, he's about 360 [pounds]," Cullen said. "I'm just smaller and try and use my quickness."

Both have displayed a knack for special teams. Cullen, a second year-player, blocked an extra point by Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson point during Week Two of this season. Kris blocked a field goal and an extra point in a 2003 contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His blocked extra point sent the game into overtime -- the first time that has occurred in NFL history.

Packers kicker Ryan Longwell may be able to rest a bit easier without Kris on the field on Sunday, but Cullen knows his older brother will watch from the sidelines.

"He's still going to be there," Cullen said. "There's still going to be a little bit of a challenge between us."

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