Jordan Salima and Sima Thomas are brothers by culture, their exploits on the football field, their church and their love of music.

Salima, The Examiner's co-Offensive Player of the Year, and Thomas, The Examiner's co-Defensive Player of the Year, enjoy nothing more than an evening filled with good friends, tall tales of their football success and music.

"I don't mind that people know we play football," said Thomas, who led Fort Osage to its first-ever state football championship this past season, "but there are so many other things we enjoy. If we're at a party, or with some friends, Jordan and I are going to find a musical instrument - a guitar, a ukulele or a piano and we're going to get the party going. With both of us, it's church, family, school, football and music."

Salima, nodding agreement, adds, "Music is just a family thing for both of us. Our families love music, we love music and we play any time we have the opportunity."

Throughout the conversation, the two premier metro area players - at their respective positions - strum a guitar and ukulele and exchange the type of banter one can anticipate from lifelong friends and brothers.

"I took piano lessons when I was 9 or 10," said Thomas, who signed a national letter this week to play football at Pittsburg State University, where he plans to minor in music, "and I cried every time I went to practice."

Salima nods, and grimaces, recalling some of his early days of practice sessions.

"I didn't like the lessons. Then, when I was 10 or 11, I asked my mom for a ukulele and she wanted to get me a toy one for $10. I told her I wanted a real one, and that I thought I would love, but I wouldn't know until I got."

She purchased the ukulele and a love affair began that is as strong today as it was six years ago.

"Music is just a part of us, our culture and our families," said Salima, who signed this week to play football at Truman State University. "We can be sitting around at someone's house and pick up a ukulele and soon, the room is full of people and they're having a great time."

Both Salima and Thomas were invited to play in the prestigious Polynesian Bowl in California. Once again, music made a memorable experience even more special.

"We're at Oceanside (Calif.) and we're messing around with some of the guys on the team and one of them has a ukulele and I start playing it," Thomas, said, grinning.

"Soon," Salima adds, "everyone is singing and dancing and you should see some 6-foot-7, 360-pound guy dancing. Everything on him was jiggling - man, it was crazy, and so much fun."

Want to talk about fun? Ask the brothers about the outcome of the bowl game.

"We won," Thomas said, quickly. "They drafted teams and I was on the black team and Jordan was on the other team and we won (28-14)."

Thomas anchored a defensive stand that kept Salima's team out of the end zone of three consecutive carries from inside the 3-yard line.

"They scored on fourth down," Thomas said. "I grabbed the quarterback and stopped him, but suddenly, there came this push - I mean, a push, and it wasn't coming from the quarterback. I had him around his legs."

The push came from Salima, who shoved his quarterback into the end zone for a score.

"I didn't score a touchdown myself," said Salima, who had six carries for 40-plus yards, "but I helped on that score."

Thomas grinned and nodded in agreement.

Their love of life is so apparent when they are talking about the things that make them tick.

"We both learned how to play on our own," Thomas said. "You know, he copies everything I do . . ."

They break out into laughter.

"We really enjoy being around each other - we're brothers," Salima said. "We're boys - we've been boys for a long time. . ."

Adds Thomas, "Since we were pre-K (kindergarten), and we always will be. We're boys forever."