Like father, like son. Many sons have followed their fathers into the "family business," but that doesn't happen too often in the National Football League. For Tim and TJ McDonald, that dream becomes a reality this Sunday when TJ makes his NFL regular season debut for the St. Louis Rams. What makes their story unique, however, is the almost identical paths they followed.
Tim was a high school all-American at Edison High School in Fresno, Cal. as a quarterback and safety. He matriculated to the University of Southern California where he followed in the footsteps of NFL stars like Ronnie Lott and Dennis Thurman. There McDonald would become one of the greatest college players of all-time (He was named to the Walter Camp All-Century team in 1999).
Despite starting for three seasons at USC, McDonald slipped into the second round of the 1987 NFL Draft. The St. Louis Cardinals, who were going to spend their final season in St. Louis, took McDonald with the 34th selection.
Timothy McDonald, Jr. was also a standout safety for Edison High. The second ranked safety coming out of high school, he too went on to USC, started three seasons and earned All-American honors.
Despite an impressive college career, TJ slipped in the draft also. He lasted until the third round when, like his father, St. Louis (the Rams this time) gladly selected him with the 71st pick.
On Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome, the circle will complete itself. Tim will be on hand to watch his son face his former team in his NFL debut just a stone's throw from where Tim made his own start.
Will TJ continue in his father's rather large shoes, complete with Pro Bowls and Super Bowl rings? Les Snead and Jeff Fisher certainly hope so, only this time in St. Louis.
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