Those who have delved into Zach Banner’s story most likely are aware of the fact that he is the biological son of Lincoln Kennedy, a three-time Pro Bowl and two-time All-Pro offensive tackle who spent the bulk of his career with the Oakland Raiders from 1996 through 2003, the time period during which he earned his honors.
But Banner didn’t even know that part of his story until he was in seventh grade. His mother married a man named Ron Banner, who adopted him as his son. That was when he discovered the name Zachary Samuel Kennedy—his birth name—on his birth certificate while his family was remodeling.
He also found an audio tape featuring voices arguing over him. I would imagine it was Kennedy and his mother. This was when he learned for the first time, after football practice, that Ron was not his biological father.
But he was his father in every other sense. At that point in his life, the only thing he had gotten from his father was his genetics. He was a 6’8”, 295-pound starting right tackle by the time he was a sophomore in high school. He would, over time, forge a certain relationship with Kennedy, however, and he acknowledged that the two have spoken as he enters the next phase of his NFL career as a starter.
“Lincoln and I spoke, whether it was yesterday or the day before, about it. We talked on the phone, and, same thing with him”, he told reporters on Thursday. “It’s on to the next step. He always gives his two pieces, but he also understands the awesome opportunity I have. You never want to cross technique coaching. A lot of this stuff when he was with the Raiders was a little bit different, but as an offensive tackle, it’s the same. So a little bit of technique here and there, and just conversation going”.
Banner is actually even bigger than his father, who played at 6’6”, 335 pounds. The former has slimmed down since weighing over 350 pounds, and you can tell that he’s in great shape, certainly the best shape of his professional career.
But while they talked football and this and that, there’s no question about his parentage. The rest is Banner’s personal business, but Ron Banner is his father, no matter what relationship he may have with Lincoln Kennedy, the former ninth-overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1993—drafted right around the time that Banner was conceived, born December 25 of that year.