A Family Bond

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 7:37 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Football and family go hand and hand at JL Mann.

“They’re basically family too,” Toby Cates Jr., JL Mann senior receiver, said. “When I’m on the field, I play for them.”

The Patriots have a tight bond that goes beyond the sport.

“He’s my biggest inspiration.” Cates Jr. said.

The name Toby Cates appears twice on the roster. First with number 1, Toby Cates jr. And on the sideline, his father Toby Cates Sr.

“It’s just great just being around my son,” Toby Cates Sr., JL Mann offensive coordinator and Toby Cates Jr. father, said.

“He’s taught me everything I know,” Cates Jr. said. “Yeah I can always ask him everything. He’s been through that level. He knows all the recruiting stuff. If I’ve got a question, I can just go to him.”

Football has always been a shared love between father and son.

“He coached me all my little league years.” Cates Jr. said.

“I’m just proud of being able to sit back and not have a lot of pressure on me anymore,” Cates Sr. said. “I can sit back and just watch him play and the coaches they’re calling the plays for him not me. So, most people are like ‘Well, he’s getting the ball because I’m the coordinator.’ No, he deserves everything he gets.”

Cates Senior was a star receiver with the Gamecocks back in the 90s.

“At a young age, I used to always see his posters on the board at the house.” Cates Jr. said.

His son now plays receiver and is crafting his own legacy with the family name.

“Probably in the last five to 10 years, I took all my trophies and plaques and I put all of them in a box,” Cates Sr. said. “Now it’s up to him. Get his own trophies. Get his own thing.”

“Everywhere I go, I have to act right because I know maybe wherever I’m going, they probably know him,” Cates Jr. said. “So, if I do something bad, not only is that going to come back on me, but it’s going to come back on him. So, I try to respect him in everything I do.”

Cates Jr. Is entering his final season with the Patriots. Meaning his final season being coached by his dad. The two will always cherish the years shared on the football field.

“I treasure it a lot,” Cates Jr. said. “He’s been there all the way.”

“That’s going to be very important to actually see his film when he gets a little older and kind of watch the things that he’d done and how he just grew as a young man and grew as a football player.” Cates Sr. said.