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Thursday, August 8, 2002
Golic brothers blaze their own trail

By Mike Golic
Special to ESPN.com

My oldest brother, Bob, was only three years removed from Notre Dame football when I arrived in 1981. Because he was so successful, expectations for how I would perform were inevitable. Luckily, we grew up in a very athletic-oriented family, and our parents instilled in us early on that you don't compete against your brothers.

As the youngest of three boys, and with Bob being as successful as he was, there were certainly some comparisons, especially when I followed in his footsteps at Notre Dame. But the way I saw it, Bob may have blazed the trail through high school and college, but I had the ability, interest and drive as well. I knew I got to Notre Dame because of my own achievements, not my brother's.

By the time I came on the scene, Bob had already been there, done that. Believe me, I was called Bob a lot more than he was called Mike. But I'd just correct the person, let them feel bad for calling me the wrong name for a couple of seconds, and move on. I was ready to blaze my own trail. There was no competitive jealousy at all.

I looked up to Bob and what he accomplished, so much that I wore his old jersey, No. 55. At that time, a card was placed in our lockers listing past greats who wore that number. Of course, listed on my card was my brother Bob. I couldn't have been more proud.

Some people questioned my decision to wear No. 55 because they thought I might be putting excess pressure on myself to live up to expectations. But I didn't see it that way. To me, the decision was very natural, not to compete with Bob or try to prove anything; I thought that since Bob had a great career with No. 55, so could I. I chose to wear his number out of respect and pride.

Although it was sometimes addressed in the media, Bob and I never looked at it as a situation that needed discussing. Sure, he teased me about it all the time. It got to be a bit of a joke, but he never sat me down and said, "Hey, don't feel pressure to live up to what I did or to fill my shoes." We'd just laugh about it, so it was never really an issue.

Sometimes I got tired of hearing "Bob this, Bob that." But I never got mad at someone for mentioning him. Certainly, in no way would I ever feel resentment towards my brother because of it. It's natural to make the comparisons. But eventually, there comes a time when you want to be recognized for your own accomplishments.

Mike Golic played at Notre Dame from 1981-84 and then played in the NFL. He serves as a color man for ESPN's college football and an analyst for NFL 2Night.