Falcons-49ers game means something more for Matt Ryan, Mike McGlinchey

It's safe to say Matt Ryan has pretty much seen everything at this point in his 11-year career. But Sunday's game at Levi's Stadium will bring a first for Ryan: He will be competing against family.

Ryan and his younger cousin, Mike McGlinchey, will square off for the first time in their professional careers.

"It's going to be really cool," Ryan said on Wednesday.

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Drafted as the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, McGlinchey has been the 49ers' starting right tackle since he arrived in Santa Clara.

Ryan and McGlinchey share similar paths to the NFL despite their 9-year age difference. Both attended William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia for high school, both went to private Catholic universities and both were top-10 draft picks.

Ryan, 34, attended Boston College (2003-07) and McGlinchey, 25, went to Notre Dame (2013-17).

According to 49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan, who has now coached both Ryan and McGlinchey, there's not many differences between the two, aside from their size, of course.

"I see so many similarities," Shanahan said. "They talk similar, they act very similar, they both are extremely intense. They both love football, they both work as hard as anyone I've ever been around. They're both really good people. Only difference is McGlinchey is a lot thicker and they play a different position."

McGlinchey has spent his entire football career looking up to Ryan and he's beyond grateful to have him as his role model.

"Matt has guided me every step of the way whether he knew it or not," McGlinchey said at the 2018 NFL Combine of Ryan's influence. "Just watching the way Matt goes about his business, the way that he works. The way that people respect him is something that I've always worked for. He's been my football hero ever since I was a little kid."

Speaking of the word kid, despite the fact he's a 6-foot-8, 315-pound starting right tackle, in many ways Ryan still sees McGlinchey as a kid.

"It's going to be really cool. He's a kid to me but he's out there playing like a grown man. He's playing really, really well. I'm excited for him and I'm glad I don't have to go against him on the field actually. He's pretty physical and that wouldn't be fun to get him by him. It's going to be a unique experience and I've obviously been a huge fan of his from high school, through college, through his first couple years in the NFL. It'll be a lot of fun for myself and our family to see that happen.

"He was always a monster. He was always a big kid. I remember as a baby you'd be like, 'God, this kid is big, you know?' But he's super athletic for an offensive lineman. He was always a freak but he's such a good guy, really down to earth, really easy going. A lot of fun, good singer, life of the party kind of guy. I'm proud of him."

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