RENTON, Wash. -- Quentin Jammer is already chuckling before he begins to tell the story of how he hardened his little brother in the front yard of their home in Angleton, Texas.
"It wasn't abuse ..." Jammer insists now, a classic older-brother preface to any good little-brother hijinks.
As with most things Jammer did with his little brother, Quandre Diggs, this story revolved around football.
"I used to make him stand out in yard," Jammer begins, "and I would throw the ball at him as hard as I could. He had to catch it. He had to use his hands. If the ball got into his body, it was going to hurt."
It was all those moments, all those throws in the yard, that shaped Diggs' path to the NFL -- and into the Seattle Seahawks secondary -- and strengthened a unique relationship between brothers.
Jammer and Diggs are 13 years apart. Their mother often lived and worked in Houston, 45 miles up the South Freeway, which meant the boys spent long stretches with their grandmother. But before and after school, it was Jammer's responsibility to care for Diggs.
"I didn't think of it as a responsibility at all. That's my little brother, you know," Jammer says. "I was just doing what I was supposed to be doing."
When Jammer became a star cornerback at Angleton High, Diggs was there, in the locker room and on the sideline. When Jammer became an All-American at the University of Texas, Diggs was there too, attending practices and trash-talking his brother's teammates.
And when Jammer became the No. 5 overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft, Diggs was there, the 9-year-old standing on stage and posing for pictures.
"Literally, my best friend," Diggs says. "We're 13 and a half years apart, but at the end of the day, the bond me and him share, it's unbreakable. ... He's been in my corner through it all."