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Tennessee C Cooper Mays talks about his brother “Big Bowler”

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Tennessee center Cooper Mays can’t help but beam when he talks about his other brother in the NFL. After all, there’s practically a Super Bowl trophy in the family.

To clarify, Mays already has one real brother in the NFL: Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Cade Mays. The elder Mays is about to begin his second season in the pros. The “other” brother that you may not know about is Trey Smith, who just won a Super Bowl playing on the offensive line with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Mays has always felt a close kinship to Smith, who was a standout offensive lineman for the Vols before being selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. Mays and Smith formed a bond way back when Mays, who is now a junior, was being recruited to Tennessee.

While Smith was there for Mays during his recruitment, Mays was able to return the favor when blood clots nearly sidelined Smith’s career in 2018. Smith missed almost half of the season that year before returning to action. Clearly, his health was a concern, which is the major reason why he was drafted in the sixth round of the draft. Given his size and ability, he surely would have gone much earlier in the draft had it not been for the blood clot issue.

Being drafted later meant Smith has been paid sixth-round money, which will soon change following his success last season and being selected the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team in 2021.

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“Super, super excited and proud for him,” Mays said. “I kind of feel like his little brother and he thinks of me like his little brother. So just super proud of him. Just can’t even really explain it. It’s awesome to see where he’s taking everything and all he’s accomplished in just two short years of playing in the league and and just super excited to see how he does in the future. It’s pretty awesome.”

As for that pending payday, Mays said he’s glad that Smith, who is originally from Jackson (Tenn.) University School, will be able to live “lavishly” with his family. With the newfound wealth, Smith also wants a new name. Calling him “Trey” is just no longer allowed.

“He won’t let me call him Trey,” Mays said jokingly. “He won’t respond to anything. He’ll only let you call him ‘Big Bowler’ or ‘Big champ.’ 

“Those are the only names he’ll respond to. He’s keeps on telling me I can talk to him when I’m a Super Bowl champion and all that. And I’m like, well, you can talk to me when you beat Bama.”

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