Football is a Family Affair for the Hennessys

PHILADELPHIA -- Reaching the NFL is the dream for most college football players. For redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Matt Hennessy, the NFL is something that is now very close to home.

His brother, Thomas, is going into his second season as a long snapper for the New York Jets. Thomas went undrafted out of Duke University in the 2017 NFL Draft before signing with the Indianapolis Colts, who later traded him to the Jets before the start of the 2017 NFL season.

Having Thomas close to Rockland County, where he grew up, and playing in the same stadium as the New York Giants, his favorite NFL team, was special for the Hennessy family.

"When he was able to come home and be in an area that he was familiar with, I know that was really exciting for him," Hennessy said. "Having him local, even though it's not the Giants, you can't really complain."

Having a brother playing in the NFL is cool enough, but to have him as a mentor is even better.

"There was a competitiveness as well as a level of inspiration between us," Hennessy said. "I see him doing big things and that's inspiring for me."

Playing two different positions like his brother, Matt can now learn the same as he continues to better himself on the field.

"A lot of it came back when I was in high school, being exposed to all of the stuff he was doing in college, I saw that and that helped me before I got here," Hennessy said.

Growing up, they were very competitive, but they pushed each other to be better. It wasn't as much an internal competition between the two, but a desire for them both to be successful and make it to the NFL.

Thomas making to the next level has only motivated Matt even more. While watching his brother play in the NFL is cool, playing alongside him or against him is the ultimate goal.

"Now, seeing all the stuff he's doing in the NFL, seeing how true professionals do it is pretty cool, and that's definitely shaped some of the stuff I do," Hennessy said.

Todd Bowles, head coach of the Jets, played for Temple from 1982-1985. Bowles received All-American honorable mention honors in 1984. He went undrafted in 1986 and played for the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers during his seven-year NFL career.

"It's fun to think about. Obviously, everyone wants to get to the league and then to be playing for an organization like the Jets and being in my home market...that would mean the world to me," Hennessy said.

It's unique that a college football player has a college and family connection on the same NFL team. For Matt though, it's just a fun fact and he's looking to create his own legacy with Temple and hopefully in the NFL.

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