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Qadry Ismail used to light Rocket's fuse in high school

8:40 PM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
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NEW ORLEANS (USA TODAY) -- With coaches John and Jim Harbaugh facing each other in the Super Bowl on Sunday, USA TODAY Sports will ask a well-known personality about his relationship with his brother. The feature will run each day leading up to the game

Former NFL receiver and current Baltimore Ravens radio analyst Qadry Ismail never faced his brother, Raghib "Rocket" Ismail, in a Super Bowl.

The Ismail brothers did play together in the same backfield, however, for the Elmer Myers High School Warhawks in Wilkes Barre, Pa. - an experience that provided Qadry with a funny sibling rivalry story that the brothers still laugh about. "The Missile" half-heartedly blocked for "The Rocket" on occasion.

"I played quarterback our senior year - and, of course, my brother played tailback, was our star player and everybody was trying to tackle and stop 'The Rocket,'" Qadry Ismail told USA TODAY Sports.

"A couple of times, I was like, 'I want the ball, too.' So I'd throw a nonchalant block for him. Well, when my guy made the tackle, Raghib knew I didn't really try to block him.

"And when we got back to the huddle, it wasn't just 'The Stare.' It was 'The Stare Into My Soul!' Needless to say, I blocked better the next play."

Qadry is almost one year younger, but the brothers graduated high school together before Raghib went to Notre Dame, where he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in a 1989 game against Michigan. He signed a then-record four-year, $18.2million deal to play with the Toronto Argonauts and was the 1991 Grey Cup MVP before playing from 1993 to 2001 with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys.

"The biggest thing is when people try to compare family, it's just a weird thing," Ismail said. "It's always 'Who's better? Who has this gift? Or who doesn't have this gift?'

"I always appreciated my brother for him being him. My brother and I, we shared this crazy, non-competitive sibling relationship. Some people have a hard time grabbing a hold of that, because they had a hard time getting along with their sibling."

Ismail said when his brother had a good game against him the one time they faced each other late in their NFL careers, he was excited for him.

He can only imagine how hot the spotlight will be come the post-Super Bowl handshake between the Harbaughs.

"Everybody will want to get the shot: 'What will Jim say to John?' Everybody wants to put you in this box of sibling rivalry - the Hatfields and McCoys. 'Oh, they can't co-exist.'"

He sees a fire burning in John Harbaugh.

"When John was establishing himself as a head coach, some guys were like, 'He's a former special-teams coach. What's he going to do?'

"The competitor in John came out so quickly. Make no mistake, John can flat-out coach. He has more of the respect of guys now than ever."

 

USA TODAY SPORTS

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