The parents of Carlos Dunlap and A.J. Green sat on opposite sides of the stadium when their sons were football rivals in high school and college.
Last Sunday, the parents sat in the same row at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati to watch their sons play for the Bengals.
Dunlap played for Fort Dorchester High School and the University of Florida, and Green starred at Summerville High and the University of Georgia. The players are part of the Bengals' building blocks for the future. Dunlap, in his second season in the NFL, has showed flashes of brilliance at defensive end, while Green is one of the top rookie wide receivers in the NFL.
What are the odds of two players from the Lowcountry ending up on the same NFL team?
Almost unheard of.
To put it in perspective, the NCAA estimates that eight in 10,000 high school senior boys playing interscholastic football will eventually be drafted by an NFL team. The odds of making a team are even more of a longshot.
"I don't think anyone would have predicted that," Dunlap said of being on the same team with Green. "But I'm just happy he's a teammate. I've played against him so many times in high school and college that it's good to finally have him on my side. It's crazy, two guys from the Charleston area on the same NFL team. Who would have thought it?"
The players aren't the first from the Lowcountry to play for the Bengals. Harold Green (running back) from Stratford, Mike Dingle (running back) from Berkeley, Langston Moore
(defensive tackle) from James Island and Stanford Jennings (running back) of Summerville have played in Cincinnati. But Dunlap and Green might be the two most talented.
The 6-6 Dunlap was the youngest player on the Bengals' roster last year after being selected in the second round and signing a four-year contract estimated at just over $3 million, with more than $1 million guaranteed. He also was the most promising Bengal with a strong finish at the end of the season. He had 9 1/2 sacks in the last eight games, which was second among rookies. He missed most of the this year's preseason camp with a knee injury, but is coming on strong. He's recorded five tackles for the 1-2 Bengals, who play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Green was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft and signed a four-year contract worth nearly $20 million -- all guaranteed. He's lived up to his billing, leading rookie receivers in catches (19), and is second among rookies in receiving yards (194) and TD receptions (2). His best effort came in Week 2, when he caught 10 passes against Denver for 124 yards and a TD.
Both players' position coaches say Dunlap and Green have the potential to be among the best in the NFL.
"A.J. has all the potential in the world," said James Urban, who coaches the Bengals wide receivers. "He has the talent we thought he had when we drafted him. He's still got a long way to go. But he's a great kid with a great attitude and all that talent. He can be special."
Dunlap doesn't have a sack this season, but he's been disruptive. The 49ers continually ran away from Dunlap's side on Sunday.
John Hayes, who coaches the defensive line, wants Dunlap to improve his technique against the run.
"Right now, Carlos is known as the guy from Florida who comes in on third down and sacks the quarterback," Hayes said. "He's got that talent and motor. But he has to improve so I can put him in there on a regular basis when it's first and second down."