The Mannings might be the NFL’s so-called first family, but the Geathers have them outnumbered.
Jumpy Geathers recorded 62 sacks as a defensive end for the New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos from 1984 through 1996.
Geathers’ brother, Robert, was a third-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills in 1981, but his career ended before it started because of injury.
The next generation already is making its mark. Robert Geathers Jr. has 26.5 sacks in six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2004. Jumpy’s son, Jeremy, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of UNLV in 2008 and is looking for another opportunity. And this year’s draft class features Jumpy’s other son, Jarvis, a productive defensive end from Central Florida. Robert Geathers Sr.’s other son, the 6-foot-8 Clifton, left South Carolina a year early and is a late-round prospect.
“It’s the same bloodline, brothers and stuff,” Jumpy Geathers told Packer Report. “Same bloodline. That’s what we do. We play sports and we teach them to do the best that they can do. The older we get, the better we get. The whole family, from my brothers’ kids to my other nephews, it’s competition. Even basketball — we’ve got a 7-foot basketball player. Everybody’s trying to outdo the other one. If you’re just sitting around and just being a big guy, you ain’t doing nothing. You don’t want to be that guy.”
Jarvis Geathers posted 11 sacks during his senior season and was named to the all-Conference USA first team. Among those sacks were two in the fourth quarter that forced turnovers and clinched the Golden Knights’ early-season victory over Buffalo.
A torn quad, which he called a five- or six-month injury, has kept him from offseason workouts and will keep him out until perhaps June minicamps.
“Some teams probably are looking away because I’ve got the injury but some of them are still looking at me,” he told Packer Report. “If you watch my film, you can see that I’m a player and I’m ready to play ball.”
His last name will help him either get drafted or be signed as a priority free agent not long after the draft. He’ll sink or swim, however, based on whether he can produce.
“He’s got the will power,” said Jumpy Geathers, who’s working in real estate and has coached junior varsity girls basketball for the last six years. “I think he’s a little better than me in a couple of ways. For his size, if you look at the film, those big guys don’t move him. I don’t understand that, because I played at 295 and I couldn’t do what he’s doing at that size. His will is out of this world. It’s amazing.”
Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
Father and son laugh when it’s pointed out that Jarvis has more speed than Jumpy.
“He’s quicker than me now!” the 50-year-old Jumpy said.
“My dad, he taught all of us our pass-rush moves and our basic fundamentals of playing at the end position, from the beginning — from the stance and your first step and your get-off,” Jarvis said.
At 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, Jarvis’ best position probably is as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. It’s a position that he’d embrace. Outside linebackers make their money by sacking the quarterback, and that was his strength at UCF.
“There’s nothing better than that,” he said. “That’s why I play. Every time I get to hit a quarterback, it’s an adrenaline rush.”
Asked about his bread-and-butter move, he added: “It depends on what the offensive lineman does. I can speed, I can bull, I can come back inside. It’s really a reaction, like a natural instinct.”
Jumpy said it would be a “dream come true” to see his son be drafted. The injury could be an obstacle.
“He has a quick first step, uses his long arms and change-of-direction ability to get off blocks and displays a burst of closing speed in pursuit,” Scout.com draft analyst Chris Steuber said. “He lacks the upper-body strength to contend at the line of scrimmage and must improve his overall technique, if a team decides to use him at defensive end. He's a hard worker, possesses a strong motor and has upside as a pass rusher. But durability is an issue and his size will likely keep him from being drafted.”
Regardless of whether he’s drafted, Jarvis will get his chance. Perhaps that opportunity will come in Green Bay, which could use another outside linebacker. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers was an assistant in New Orleans for four of Jumpy’s seasons with the Saints.
“He’s a great man — a great man,” Jumpy said. “I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about him. If he gets Jarvis, Jarvis will be good.”
Last year, the Packers’ Clay Matthews — with a famous dad by the same name — entered the NFL hoping to make a name for himself. Matthews wound up with 10 sacks and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
“You want to be known as Jarvis Geathers and not the son of Jumpy,” Jarvis said. “It’s good to be known as the son of Jumpy Geathers, don’t get me wrong, but you want to be known as your own name and stick out there like, ‘This is what he did. He was a great player.’”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.