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August 23, 2012
Brother vs. brother: 49ers rookie has lifelong history with Broncos Miller

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Broncos linebacker Von Miller will earn about $1.3 million in base salary this year. It might be just enough to repay his parents' grocery bills.

When Miller was in high school, his family took in three other players on the DeSoto (Tx) High football team, including 49ers defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie. "It was like a sleepover every day," Miller said by phone Thursday.

Jerod-Eddie, an undrafted rookie the 49ers acquired in April, said it goes deeper than that. Friends since they were little boys, he said he considers himself Miller's little brother, and he refers to Miller's parents, Gloria and Von, as mom and dad.

Jerod-Eddie said he's close to his biological mother. But when she was poised to move from DeSoto, a suburb of Dallas, before Jerod-Eddie's sophomore year of high school, Miller asked his own mother if the big defensive linemen could stay with them. Two other high school teammates, including current Kansas City Chiefs running back Cyrus Gray, joined the group.

"We're more than friends. It's more like a brotherhood," Miller said. "You know you're close when you can go into someone else's refrigerator and it's not a problem." Jerod-Eddie, who was a year behind Miller, lived with the Millers even after Von left for Texas A&M. The following year, he joined Miller and Gray on the Aggies football team.

Miller continued to play the role of older brother this offseason. He trained alongside Jerod-Eddie in the Los Angeles area and did his best to prepare him for his rookie season. He also introduced Jerod-Eddie to one of his future teammates.

Aldon Smith and Miller became friendly rivals in college - both are Big 12 products --and kept in touch last season when they were vying for the sack title among rookies. Smith edged Miller 14 to 11 ½. Miller, however, was named the league's defensive rookie of the year.

The two met up in the Los Angeles this winter, and Miller brought Jerod-Eddie with him. "It was good for me, coming up here and knowing that Aldon was here," Jerod-Eddie said. "That's my dog, man. Like I said, it was good coming here and knowing somebody." He said he planned to meet with Miller and his family before the 49ers play the Broncos in Sunday's nationally televised game.

As for Jerod-Eddie's NFL prospects, he's not likely to earn defensive rookie of the year honors or finish wit 14 sacks. In fact, with so many young defensive line prospects on the team, it's difficult to see him making the 53-man squad. But he's big (6-5, 301) and quick, and he's made a nice first impression of defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. A spot on the practice squad is a possibility.

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Neither NaVorro Bowman nor Chris Culliver were at practice for the second straight day. Look for Larry Grant to start Sunday's game next to Patrick Willis if Bowman can't play. Either Perrish Cox or Tramaine Brock will play in place of Culliver, the 49ers' No. 3 cornerback.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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