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Ryan Nassib proud of brother Carl, the Lombardi Award winner

Carl Nassib of the Penn State Nittany

Carl Nassib of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates with Garrett Sickels after a sack in the second half during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini on Oct. 31, 2015 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Penn. Credit: Getty Images / Justin K. Aller

Usually Eli Manning is the Giants quarterback who gets hit with questions about his brother.

Backup Ryan Nassib is starting to catch up in that category.

And it will probably become a much closer race now that his little brother, Carl, won the Lombardi Award as the nation’s top defensive lineman or linebacker. The award was announced on Wednesday night.

“It’s exciting,” Ryan Nassib said. “It’s an exciting time for him and my family. He’s well deserving of everything that is coming his way. He worked extremely hard.”

Carl Nassib took an unconventional route to winning an award that had previously gone to the likes of Luke Kuechly (2011), Ndamukong Suh (2009), A.J. Hawk (2005), Terrell Suggs (2002), Julius Peppers (2001) and Warren Sapp (1994). He barely played in high school and was a walk-on at Penn State. For most of his life he’s just been Ryan’s kid brother.

“I always kind of felt for him in a way because I knew he was trying to make his own name for himself,” Ryan said. “It was something that kind of motivated him too, to be able to have the kind of year he did this year.”

The 6-7, 272-pound senior finished the regular season with 46 tackles, 15.5 sacks and six forced fumbles to go with one interception.

Next year, he could be in the NFL. He could be chasing after Ryan.

“I’ve been hearing that quite a lot lately,” Ryan said. “It’d be funny. It’s an interesting kind of deal.”

Ryan said he’s giving Carl plenty of space to find his own path — which he’s apparently done a pretty good job at so far, unorthodox though it may be.

“Right now I’m kind of letting him do his thing, but I’m always here for help or guidance, whatever he needs,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to try to be that overbearing older brother, but he knows that if he needs me I’m here for advice or what have you.”

Now that the Nassibs have a Lombardi Award for the family, the next step is the Lombardi Trophy.

“That would be nice,” Nassib said. “That’s the goal, for sure.”

New York Sports