EXCLUSIVE: Tony Gonzalez is a shoo-in to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Chris Gonzalez wanted nothing more than to play the game the way his kid brother did. Director Andrea Nevins’ Play It Forward chronicles the waning months Tony’s NFL career while also following his wingman Chris, who has lived in his famous brother’s shadow and now is chasing his midlife dream of becoming a firefighter. The candid documentary explores brotherhood, sacrifice and what it takes to achieve greatness — on or off the field.

Play It Forward“As Tony continued to play and deflect retirement, we filmed and bore witness to a year of significant family life-cycle events: the death of a father and mentor, the chosen son’s final quest and the other son’s struggle to become a firefighter and finally emerge from his brother’s enormous shadow,” Nevins said. “The stories that surfaced during a pivotal year in the life of this one family felt archetypal to my team and me. It became not just a story about retirement but of family sacrifice and the virtues of grit and love.”

Play It Forward, from SMAC Entertainment and Rare Bird Films, premieres April 16 as the opening film of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival — which screens sports movies as part of the annual Tribeca Film Festival.