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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Football and family: Duke receivers now brothers-in-law

By Heather Dinich
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Athletes often refer to their teammates as family members, but Duke senior receiver Ryan Wood means it. Literally.

Last month, he married a teammate's sister, making fellow wide receiver Matt Pridemore his brother-in-law.

On June 21 in Gainesville, Ga., wedding bells rang and guests devoured a chocolate grooms cake decorated with the Duke logo and jersey No. 82 on it. Erin Pridemore, Matt's older sister, is now Erin Wood.

All three of them went to Buford High School in Buford, Ga., so it came as no surprise to Matt, a sophomore, when his sister and Wood were engaged this past Christmas.

"He's cool with it," said Wood, Duke's holder and reserve receiver. "There's no precedent, so it's kind of new territory for both of us. We've known each other for so long. We played on the same high school team. Everybody kind of saw it coming. After six years of dating, it can only end one way. He had some time to prepare for it.

"It's funny, he used to play defensive back, so that made it really interesting," Wood said. "We'd even get kind of picked on then about being brothers-in-law and stuff like that before it was official."

Their story has another unique twist.

Erin's father, Tom, was a safety with the Atlanta Falcons from 1978-85. He also played for Bobby Bowden at West Virginia.

"We talk a lot of football," Ryan Wood said. "It's interesting to hear stories of back when he played. We get a lot of Falcon stories out of him. And he played for coach Bobby Bowden back when he was at West Virginia. It's always interesting to hear Bobby Bowden stories from him and how the game has changed."

Locker rooms, of course, haven't advanced as quickly.

"I feel like everyday it's, 'How's married life? How's the wife doing?'" Wood said with a laugh. "The guys have been great. They've known Erin and she's gotten to know some of the guys, especially the guys in my class. They've been very supportive. Of course, they take their shots when they can."

What are families for?