Matt Schobel has looked across the line of scrimmage and seen his brother, Aaron, before. When Matt played for the Bengals, they faced Aaron and the Buffalo Bills every year, Matt said yesterday.

But it hasn't happened since Matt signed with the Eagles 2 years ago, so it will be a little strange Sunday when the Birds host the Bills in the season finale.

"Once the game starts, it's pretty much business as usual," said Matt Schobel, a tight end, who noted that the Bengals lost to the Bills all four times they faced one another during Matt's time in Cincinnati.

All told, there are three football-playing Schobels - cousin Bo is a Cardinals defensive end - but there is little doubt which of the trio has been the most successful. Defensive end Aaron Schobel played in the Pro Bowl last year after notching 14 sacks, the third double-digit sack performance of a career that began when he was drafted by the Bills in 2001's second round. Matt has been a steady complementary tight end for the Bengals and the Eagles, and Bo has been a journeyman, playing a reserve role for the Titans and the Colts before coming to Arizona. All are TCU alums.

"He's really worked hard," Matt Schobel said of his brother, who is younger by a little less than 10 months. "Honestly, he's gotten better every year, I'd say since early in college. Even later on in his career, you see certain things he's continued to improve on."

Matt said their parents and sister will attend Sunday. "In a perfect world, we'd both do well," he said. "They don't care who wins.""

All the Schobels hail from Columbus, Texas.

"I like [having two relatives who play], because in the offseason there's always somebody to work out with," Matt Schobel said.

Matt Schobel is scheduled to return to the lineup after missing last week's game with a concussion he suffered on a hit from safety Ken Hamlin in Dallas. Hamlin made contact with his shoulder to Schobel's body, but on replays, it seemed obvious that he also ducked his helmet and basically head-butted Schobel in the face, causing the concussion. Hamlin was not fined, however; the league ruled that since he initiated the hit with his shoulder, it was OK.

"I was a little bit surprised," Schobel acknowledged. "They give fines pretty easily."

Max protect?

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg allowed that guard Max Jean-Gilles, given his first start in New Orleans because of Shawn Andrews' knee injury, "has a chance to be a pretty good player in this league." Obviously, Pro Bowl selection Andrews isn't going anywhere, but on the other side, there has been speculation that Todd Herremans might be better suited to playing tackle: His frame is long and lean for a guard. Mornhinweg confirmed that Jean-Gilles "can play either side."

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg allowed that guard Max Jean-Gilles, given his first start in New Orleans because of Shawn Andrews' knee injury, "has a chance to be a pretty good player in this league." Obviously, Pro Bowl selection Andrews isn't going anywhere, but on the other side, there has been speculation that Todd Herremans might be better suited to playing tackle: His frame is long and lean for a guard. Mornhinweg confirmed that Jean-Gilles "can play either side."

Birdseed

Middle linebacker Omar Gaither (quad) returned to practice and should play in the finale. Tight end L.J. Smith (knee), free safety Brian Dawkins (foot) and cornerback Lito Sheppard (knee) did not practice; their status is unclear. *

Middle linebacker Omar Gaither (quad) returned to practice and should play in the finale. Tight end L.J. Smith (knee), free safety Brian Dawkins (foot) and cornerback Lito Sheppard (knee) did not practice; their status is unclear. *