A baby boom on the defensive line

There must be something in the air in the defensive line meeting room these days as three of the team's linemen welcomed a new baby within a span of nine days.

Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke both had their fifth child, while Brett Keisel became a father for the second time.

"I don't know what it is," joked Smith. "Maybe it's the water or the meeting room. Maybe it creates testosterone or hormones or something, who knows."

"It was crazy when we started talking about it. You don't say things to people at first and then I told them we are pregnant and Keisel said yeah, we are pregnant, and then Hoke said it too. We asked when each was due. We found out Keisel and I were due the same day and Hoke a week from us."

And the timing was just about right where everyone expected. Keisel's wife Sarah gave birth to a baby girl, Grace, on November 21 at 9:45 a.m., weighing eight-pounds, eight-ounces and 23 inches long.

"I think they were both trying to be like me because I told them I wanted to have another baby," said a smiling Keisel. "I don't blame them for wanting to be like me. It happens around here."

Next in line was Smith, who along with wife Jaimie welcomed son Ezekiel on November 24 at 5:37 p.m., a healthy eight-pound, 12 ounce baby that was 23 inches long.

And last, but certainly not least, was Hoke. He and wife Jaimee were blessed with the arrival of daughter Aubree on November 30
at 1:25 p.m., weighing in at seven-pounds, 11-ounces and 21 inches long.

"We are all just trying to have kids and it worked out that we had them around the same time," said Hoke. "We always try to plan not to have a kid during the season. To have it work out like this was amazing.

While they joke about having kids at the same time, they also know how fortunate they are.

"This group of defensive linemen, we are all very blessed," said Smith.

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