Reggie McKenzie beat his twin brother Raleigh into the world by three minutes and one ounce.
Born on Feb. 8, 1963 in Knoxville, Tenn., Reggie weighed in at 4 pounds, 5 ounces, to Raleigh's 4 pounds, 4 ounces.
According to Raleigh McKenzie, they've been competing ever since.
``Who's getting the best grades, who had the most hits in the baseball game, who had the most points in the basketball game, who had the most tackles in football,'' Raleigh McKenzie said. ``We even competed to see who had the best girlfriend.''
Reggie is the Raiders' first-year general manager, and Raleigh is a special education elementary school teacher who coaches high school football in Herndon, Va., but the competitive juices remain intact at age 49.
``We're still competing,'' Raleigh McKenzie said. ``We're having our own internal ``Biggest Loser'' competition to see who can lose the most weight.''
In a home with heavy emphasis on academics and faith in God by order of their parents, Sam and Janie McKenzie, the McKenzie boys (including Samuel, who is two years younger than the twins) excelled in the classroom and on every playing field imaginable.
On graduation day at Austin-East High School, Reggie McKenzie was the valedictorian, ranked first in his class. Raleigh was ranked No. 3. Samuel McKenzie graduated from Fisk University with a degree in physics and is the environmental safety officer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
In terms of
``My dad just went about his business, doing things the right way, never looking for praise, just doing what he as supposed to do,'' Raleigh McKenzie said. ``We didn't have a lot, but we what we did have, we made the most of it.''
Besides hitting their books and Bibles, the McKenzies were two-way football stars and started on the basketball team. Reggie batted third and played first base on the baseball team, and Raleigh hit cleanup and was the catcher.
They even found time to compete for the track team, with Raleigh edging Reggie by a foot in the shot put and making the state track meet and finishing second.
``I know this is hard to believe, but Reggie even ran on the four-by-100 relay team,'' said Sam Anderson, who taught and coached at Austin-East and has known the McKenzies since they were in the eighth grade. ``They competed against each other very hard, in everything.''
The McKenzies were heavily recruited, and although Raleigh was interested in Oklahoma and Reggie was pondering a visit to UCLA, they elected to remain in Knoxville and play at Tennessee.
Under Johnny Majors, Reggie evolved into a full-time linebacker and and Raleigh moved to offensive guard.
The brothers share a sly sense of humor and enjoyed putting their nearly identical looks to use.
``I taught American Government and they tried to see if they could switch on me,'' Anderson said. ``I'm not sure why it even mattered _ Reginald was making an A-plus and Raleigh had an A-minus. I think they enjoyed just trying to trick me.''
Jerry Robinson, a teammate of Reggie's with the Raiders and his roommate on the road, found himself an unwitting victim when the team was in Washington to play the Redskins.
``I came into our room, and I was just talking away like I normally do, then after a few minutes I sensed something wasn't right,'' Robinson said. ``Finally I said, `Are you Raleigh?' It was the first time we met. I was glad I didn't give away any information.''
Raleigh had the more distinguished playing career, playing 10 of his 16 seasons with the Redskins, winning two Super Bowl rings and playing until he was 37.
Neither McKenzie was regarded all that highly coming out of Tennessee, as Reggie went in the 10th round to the Raiders and Raliegh in the 11th to the Redskins.
Reggie started his first 32 games with the Raiders and according to former Raiders and Packers personnel executive Ron Wolf, was a potential star until a leg injury in his third season slowed his progress.
``It wasn't like we were going to the sisters of the poor, either,'' Raleigh McKenzie said. `We went to teams that two years earlier were in the Super Bowl, legendary organizations. I'm trying to play with the `Hogs' at 272 pounds and Reggie is alongside Matt Millen, Rod Martin, all those guys.
``I think what propelled since high school is just working hard, being a student of the game.''