After Carolina Panthers beat reporters had finished asking offensive coordinator Mike Shula their questions on Monday afternoon, Shula wasn’t done.
He moved to the media side of the podium, grinning, and began to pose a question to the empty backdrop in front of him.
“Hey Mike, how do you feel about coaching against your nephew? I bet you’re awful proud,” he cracked, and then moved to the other side.
“You know, it’s funny you should ask that question,” he said. “I do feel awful proud.”
Shula’s nephew, Chris, is a defensive quality control assistant for the San Diego Chargers. He was hired in 2015.
Chris’s father is Shula’s brother Dave, who coached the Cincinnati Bengals from 1992-96 and was also in attendance.
“I’m not sure who he was rooting for,” said Shula. “It was pretty neat. I kinda feel a little bit how my dad (the NFL’s winningest coach in history, Don Shula) felt when me and my brother were coaching against him.”
Shula said Chris was actually responsible for breaking down the Panthers offense in preparation for Sunday’s game, including the tendencies of Shula himself.
They also caught the elevator ride up to their respective coordinator’s boxes together.
“I just kind of nudged him as he was getting out,” he said. “He was great. We had a nice visit. ... We didn’t talk before (the game.) Well, I texted him. I said ‘Am I gonna have to buy the tickets for Dave, or are you?’”
Carolina won 28-16.