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September 15, 2010

Tapp now working on the East Coast

By: Jimmy Robertson

Darryl Tapp spent four years in Seattle, but was traded to Philadelphia last March.

At this point last season, Darryl Tapp worked for the Seattle Seahawks, made wedding plans in his spare time and looked forward to his fourth season playing for an organization with one of the most rabid fan bases in the NFL.

One year later, he got married, he still works in the NFL and he still plays for an organization with one of the most rabid fan bases in the NFL.

But the zip code on his mailing address has changed.

Tapp, a former Tech defensive end who twice earned first-team All-ACC recognition while in Blacksburg, was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in mid-March, just a day after signing a one-year deal with the Seahawks. Seattle received defensive end Chris Clemons and a fourth-round pick in the deal.

The move left Tapp stunned.

“Well, first, after the season was over, a bunch of us were in the treatment room getting some treatment and a teammate tells me that Coach [Jim] Mora got fired,” Tapp said. “And Tim Ruskell, our general manager, had resigned, so we didn’t have a coach or a GM.

“Then they hired Pete Carroll as the coach. We [Carroll and Tapp] had a meeting and everything was great. He told me to come back in the best shape of my life and be ready. So I go to Florida, get married [at Disney World, no less] and come back to Seattle. I sign my tender [a one-year deal], and two hours after I do that, Coach Carroll calls me and tells me that they’ve traded me. He tells me that they got a deal they couldn’t pass up.”

Tapp immediately flew to Philadelphia for a physical and a press conference, and then he flew back to Seattle, where he picked up his wife – the former Tiffany Robinson, a former softball player at Syracuse – and a few things and headed back to Philadelphia.

The Eagles’ brass certainly made it worth Tapp’s while to come to the City of Brotherly Love. They added two years to his contract and gave him a $3 million signing bonus. If he sticks for the next three years and meets the incentives, he nets close to $15 million.

But Tapp’s never been about the money. He’s been about playing and winning, and he joins a team with a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. Plus, he joined a team with former Hokie and friend Michael Vick.

“Everything’s good,” Tapp said. “This is a great organization and I know a lot of the guys here, like Mike. I played against Ernie Sims and Broderick Bunkley when they were at Florida State, so I know those guys, and I played with Jason Avant [former Michigan receiver] at the Senior Bowl. So I’m not a total outsider.”

Philadelphia coach Andy Reid told Tapp shortly after trading for him that he wanted to use Tapp as a left defensive end. Reid told him that he expected Tapp to be a three-down defensive end – something Clemons was not.

That should result in an increase in numbers for Tapp, who saw his numbers decline last season. In 2008, he started 11 games and finished with 5.5 sacks. But a year ago, he started five games toward the end of the season and recorded just 2.5 sacks.

“It’s all a business, and I knew that,” said Tapp, who noted that he had a career-high 18 quarterback hits last season. “Money talks. My third year, they drafted Lawrence Jackson [from Southern California] with their first-round pick [in 2008], so they had to put him on the field. We had Patrick Kerney [a Pro Bowler in 2007] on the other side. But by the end of the season, I was playing more than both of them.

“Then last year, they traded for Cory Redding to play defensive end. But by the end of the season, he was playing more at tackle and I was at end. It’s a business, but you’re always a play away. You need to step up when called upon.”

Tapp’s best year statistically came in 2007 when he started all 16 games and recorded seven sacks. He wants to get to those numbers again – and beyond.

“I’ll do whatever the Eagles want me to do,” he said. “They wanted me to play left end, but they’ve been playing me at a lot of different positions – some d-tackle, some stand-up linebacker. That’s fine with me. That makes me more valuable.”

In typical Tapp fashion, he expressed no ill will toward the Seahawks. On the contrary, he expressed gratitude for that organization and the help it provided him as he embarked on his NFL journey.

“I would have loved to have stayed there,” he said. “They gave me an opportunity and I’m appreciative of that.

“But things happen, and I’m with a great organization. I’m excited to be here because this defense [Philadelphia’s] was one of the ones I enjoyed watching. They get after the quarterback and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Hokies in the Pros

Here’s a list of former Tech players in the NFL as of Sept. 5:


Justin Harper – Harper, a seventh-round pick of the Ravens in 2008, was signed to Baltimore’s practice squad. He has spent the better part of two years on the Ravens’ practice squad, but toward the end of the season, the Ravens moved him onto the active roster and he played in two games. He did not catch a pass.


93 Chris Ellis – Ellis, whom the Bills took in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft, played in just three games last season, his second in the NFL. He recorded five tackles, including two solo stops, in those three games. The Bills hired a new coach in Chan Gailey this past offseason and the coaching staff moved Ellis to outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. He’ll probably be a back-up.

71 Ed Wang – The Bills took Wang in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft. He underwent surgery for a thumb injury in early August and was slated to miss 4-8 weeks of action. Once he returns, he’ll be a back-up at left tackle.


50 James Anderson – Entering his fifth season, Anderson, a former third-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2006, enjoyed a banner fourth season with Carolina, registering a career-high 65 tackles, including 46 solo stops, and a sack. He played in all 16 games a year ago, starting seven of those.

47 Jeff King – King, like Anderson, is entering his fifth season with the Panthers. A year ago, he caught 25 passes for 200 yards, averaging eight yards per catch. He also caught three for touchdowns, which marks a career high. He started 15 of the 16 games last season and has started every game but two for the past three years. He goes into this season as the starter.


27 Nick Sorensen – Sorensen scared everyone when he took a shot to the head in a preseason game and needed to be carried off the field on a stretcher. He suffered just a concussion – no paralysis or anything else more severe – but may miss a portion of the early part of the season.

Sorensen, who got married this past February to girlfriend Danielle Berry, enters his 10th season in the NFL and his fourth with the Browns. He backs up at both safety spots, but his importance lies in his special teams abilities. He finished with 16 total tackles a year ago, including 13 solo stops. He played in all 16 games and will be in that same role this season.


19 Eddie Royal – After a record-setting rookie season, Royal’s numbers dipped considerably after a coaching change in Denver. The former Tech receiver caught just 37 passes for 345 yards and no touchdowns after catching 91 for 980 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie. He did create some excitement when he returned two kicks – a kickoff and a punt – for touchdowns against San Diego on Oct. 19. He became the first player in Broncos’ history and the 11th player in NFL history to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the same game.

Royal has been moved to the slot, and hopefully, this will bring him closer to his rookie season’s numbers.


11 André Davis – Davis saw spot duty for the Texans a year ago, playing in 14 games and starting one, but he will not be playing this season. The Texans placed Davis on injured reserve on Sept. 3 because of an injured hip and tailbone. NFL rules prevent players on injured reserve from playing in the season in which they are placed on injured reserve.

Davis caught just six passes for 59 yards last season. He returned 33 kickoffs for 782 yards, with a long of 63.

76 Duane Brown – Brown started every game at left tackle for the Texans and has started every game in his two-year career since being drafted in the first round in 2008. He’ll be in the starting role at left tackle again this season.

52 Xavier Adibi – Like Brown, Adibi is entering his third season with Houston. A reserve linebacker, he played in all 16 games a year ago, recording 11 tackles, including nine solo stops. He saw most of his action on special teams and will be in that same role again this season.


24 Brandon Flowers – Flowers played most of last season with an injured shoulder, but still started 15 games for the Chiefs and finished with 65 tackles, including 58 solo ones. He also intercepted a team-leading five passes and forced two fumbles from his cornerback spot.

Entering his third season, Flowers will again be a starter at corner for the Chiefs. He’s started 28 of the 29 games he’s played the past two seasons.


64 Jake Grove – Grove spent last season in Miami, signing a $30-million deal after spending his first five years in Oakland. The former Tech center started the first 10 games, but suffered an ankle injury that ultimately forced him to miss the final four games.

He battled a leg injury in training camp in July and then injured his shoulder in a preseason. He’ll be a back-up to Joe Berger heading into this season.


31 Pierson Prioleau – Prioleau, the longest-tenured former Hokie in the NFL, is entering his 12th season in the NFL and his second with the Saints after helping them win the Super Bowl a year ago.

He started one game, but mostly played as a back-up and on special teams, and he recorded 29 tackles (26 solo) on the season. He’ll be in that same role this season.


7 Michael Vick – Vick is entering the second year of a two-year deal with the Eagles after missing two years while serving time for an off-the-field issue. A year ago, as the back-up to Donovan McNabb, he played in 12 games as part of the Eagles’ special formations, starting one and completing 6-of-13 for 86 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 24 times for 95 yards and scored two touchdowns.

This season, he’ll be the back-up to Kevin Kolb, as the Eagles traded McNabb to Washington in the offseason.

91 Darryl Tapp – It turned out to be an adventurous offseason for one of Hokie Nation’s favorite players, as Tapp found himself traded to Philadelphia in March after four seasons in Seattle. The former second-round pick then signed a two-year extension with the Eagles on top of the one-year remaining on his Seattle deal.

Last season, Tapp recorded 49 tackles (40 solo) and 2.5 sacks in 16 games. He started five games after starting 11 games the previous season.


97 Jason Worilds – The Steelers selected Worilds in the second round of April’s NFL Draft and promptly decided to convert him into an outside linebacker in their 3-4 defensive scheme. He goes into this season as a back-up to two of the best outside linebackers in the NFL in James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. He also figures to help immensely on the Steelers’ special teams, which struggled last year.


84 Josh Morgan – Morgan, a 2008 sixth-round pick of the 49ers, had a breakthrough season for the 49ers a year ago, earning his way into a starting position at one of the receiver spots and catching 52 passes for 527 yards and three touchdowns. He also returned 13 kickoffs for 367 yards, with a long of 76.

Morgan started 15 of 16 games, and he goes into this season fighting for a starting role again.


31 Kam Chancellor – The Seahawks selected Chancellor in the fifth round of the NFL Draft and signed him to a four-year deal worth slightly more than $2 million. He’ll be a back-up at both safety spots behind veteran Lawyer Milloy and rookie Earl Thomas. He’ll also play some on special teams.


35 Cody Grimm – The Buccaneers selected Grimm, an All-American last year for the Hokies at whip linebacker, in the seventh round of the NFL Draft and signed him to a four-year deal. Grimm will be a back-up at both safety spots, but his primary duties will be participating on special teams.

Brent Bowden – The Buccaneers also selected Bowden, Tech’s All-ACC punter. Bowden went in the sixth round in April’s draft, and though he was cut on Sept. 6, he ended up signing with the Buccaneers practice squad. He’ll probably remain there the rest of the season.


22 Vincent Fuller – Fuller continues to enjoy a nice career with the Titans. He recorded 34 tackles (27 solo) and a sack a year ago, and he also intercepted three passes, including two that he returned for touchdowns. He played in 13 games, missing three games with a broken arm, and he started one of those.

Fuller is beginning his sixth season in Tennessee. He’ll probably be a back-up at both safety spots this season.


23 DeAngelo Hall – Hall started 12 games for the Redskins a year ago and played in 13. He finished the season with 58 tackles (46 solo) and a team-leading four interceptions. He’s in the second year of a six-year, $54 million deal with the Redskins, and he’ll be one of the starting cornerbacks for the Redskins this season.

63 Will Montgomery – Montgomery, a former Tech center, played in every game for the Redskins last season, starting three of those, and he decided to re-sign with the Redskins after the season, inking a one-year, $1.176 million contract. He goes into his fifth season in the NFL and third with Washington as the back-up at both guard spots.