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Always Rooting For Each Other: Carlson brothers primed for an NFL reunion

All-Pro kicker Daniel Carlson has created a name for himself and continues to prove why he is one of the best across the NFL in his position.

But now there's another Carlson trying to forge his own path in the league.

Daniel, the middle of three brothers, will face off against his younger brother Anders Carlson for the first time this Monday. Anders was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 2023 Draft, and in his first NFL action Week 1, kicked a 52-yard field goal. The Carlsons are two of 10 kickers who haven't missed a field goal this season.

Having grown up playing soccer and later football together, the brotherhood and competition the Carlsons had in childhood might spill over into the Week 5 matchup.

"I think it's like most typical brother households where we would fight, and I would pick on him a little bit and beat him up a little bit," Daniel said with a laugh. "So hopefully we can carry that over to gameday and we can beat their team up a little bit and beat him up a little bit on that."

The Carlson brothers dominated the kicking game at Auburn, with Anders joining the team as a redshirt freshman in Daniel's final season. In total between Daniel and Anders, their Auburn careers spanned nine seasons.

Daniel and Anders Carlson on the sideline of Daniel's last game with Auburn.
Daniel and Anders Carlson on the sideline of Daniel's last game with Auburn.

"We're really close now, especially as we've gotten older," Daniel said. "We got to play together for a year in Auburn. … I got to kind of show him some of the ropes [in college] and now get to show him some of the ropes in the NFL."

Daniel finished his career at Auburn as the SEC record holder in career scoring (480 points). Anders was thankful he had time to learn from his brother, and that one year together played a large role in his collegiate experience with the Tigers.

"Auburn was great for a lot of reasons, but he was definitely one," Anders said at the NFL Combine back in March.

After Daniel went on to the pros, he kept watch as his brother left his own mark on the program. Anders worked his way up the school's career rankings to fifth all-time in scoring with 410 points, second in career field goals made (79) and third in career PATs made (173).

Anders tore his ACL in 2021 and injured his shoulder in 2022, but despite those injuries he was able to find his own place within the NFL.

"It's been awesome to watch and I'm really proud of all the work he's done because I understand what it takes to get to this level and it's not easy," Daniel said. "You've got to sacrifice your time and effort and energy, and he's done that. I'm really proud of the man and the kicker he's becoming."

Packers assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who coached Daniel from 2018-21 as the Raiders special teams coordinator, has seen first-hand the similarities between the brothers and how Daniel's experiences have already shaped Anders.

"They're very similar with the ability to have a big leg and a big kick," Bisaccia told Green Bay media.

"I think the thing that's been good for Anders is that some of the difficulties that Daniel has had, Anders has had the opportunity to learn from," he added. "I think that's the one thing probably that he's taken from his brother."

As the game inches closer, Daniel has thought about what warming up near his brother might be like when they aren't sharing a sideline.

"Obviously, we'll give each other a big hug but especially with the NFL, kickers get to kind of warm up next to each other," he said. "I don't know if I'm going to try to big brother him and kick one yard farther than him or make it a competition.

"At the end of the day, each of us is just trying to help our team get points. It's not necessarily a head-on-head competition or anything but much like when we kick in the offseason against each other, each of us wants to have a better day. Hopefully I go perfect, and he goes perfect, and hopefully I just have a lot more extra points and maybe he has a couple of field goals if anything."

Now in his sixth season with the NFL, it's fair to say that Daniel may have a few pointers for his rookie brother. The pair talk on the phone often about how their kicking is going, their techniques and their mentality, but there may not be many phone calls between now and when one of them kicks off.

"We always say that the NFL is like dog years. Each year in the NFL you learn a lot. Those years, they fly by and you absorb a lot of information but he's in great hands up there in Green Bay," Daniel said. "Maybe on game week I won't give him too many tips. I'm always cheering for him but I'm just hoping he stays off the field on gameday."

View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium.

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