Kalil Brothers Find Success in the NFL
By: Noah Chani/Arab America Contributing Writer
Ryan and Matt Kalil are finding an incredible fortune in the NFL as one of the most successful brother duos the league has ever seen. Of Mexican and Lebanese descent, these NFL players serve as a model of Arab-American success in the sports world. The brothers are not only breaking barriers as Arab-Americans in the NFL, which is a rarity in its own, but they have also shared and opposed each other on the field. With the support of their father who played for the NFL Buffalo Bills, the two showed persistence and followed in their father’s footsteps. Ryan is four years older than Matt and has helped shape his little brother into the lineman he is today.
High School and College Careers
The Kalil brothers have both been named All-Pro linemen in their stints in the NFL, but their accolades began far before that. Both attended Servite High school in Anaheim, California and went on to play at the Division 1 school University of Southern California. In high school, Matt was a three-time All-State honoree and simultaneously earned USA Today All-USA honors and a high recruitment ranking by Rivals.com. Older brother Ryan, who also played on the line at Servite high school, also piled up the accolades before attending USC, but no record of his high school honors are available.
The brothers followed very successful high school and college careers that crafted them both into highly touted NFL prospects. At USC, Matt saw limited snaps his freshman year while earning a starting job in his sophomore year. It wasn’t until his junior year that he exploded onto the national scene, starting every game and being named to several All-American teams for his role in protecting quarterback Matt Barkley. He also won the Morris Trophy, an award for the best Lineman of each conference on both sides of the ball. Older brother Ryan also won his fair share of awards in college before his draft into the NFL. Ryan also won the coveted Morris Award in 2006 while also being named a 2005 Sports-Illustrated All-American.
The Younger brother, Matt Kalil, was drafted fourth overall in the 2012 NFL draft, marking just the fifth time a USC lineman had been drafted inside the top five. He has played on two teams so far in his 7-year career and just recently signed to the Houston Texans in March. In 2017, Ryan signed a 5-year deal to play with the Carolina Panthers, along with his older brother. However, following a nasty knee injury, he was released before signing with the Texans.
Matt and Ryan were the first set of brothers to play on the same offensive line in the NFL in 24 years. The older brother was drafted by the Carolina Panthers with the 59th pick of the 2007 draft. By the 2008 season, he had earned the starting center position. By 2009, he found himself playing in the pro-bowl. After back to back pro-bowls in 2009 and 2010, Matt received the franchise tag from the Panthers before signing a six-year $49 million contract, making him the highest-paid center in the history of the sport. Since playing in the 2016 Superbowl with the Panthers, Ryan Kalil has been plagued with lingering shoulder and neck injuries. He has since retired, following a long successful career with the same team that drafted him 12 years prior.
The Kalil family shared a special moment on October 13th, 2013 when the brothers faced off on opposite teams and had their sister, Danielle sing the National Anthem. Danielle is a talented musician, between both brothers and Danielle, it was an emotional evening for the parents of such impressive children that have dazzled millions of fans.