Jul 112010

July 11 The Virginian-Pilot

For a guy who’s proud to be same old same old, Darryl Tapp is staring at fresh starts at every turn.

Just since the end of the last NFL season, the defensive end from Chesapeake’s Deep Creek High and Virginia Tech has acquired a new wife, a few new millions, a new team in a new time zone and a new jersey number.

Other than that? Well, the familiar foldout bed in his parents’ house is still all his on visits home.

“Yep, still upstairs on the sofa,” Tapp said Friday, with a trademark cackle, at the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation’s football camp at Christopher Newport University. “Things really haven’t changed a whole lot.”

Excuse me but the record, your honor, suggests something much different.

Soon after Seattle’s Tiffany Robinson joined Tapp in matrimony in February, her hometown Seahawks traded Tapp to the Philadelphia Eagles for a veteran player (Chris Clemons) and a fourth-round draft pick.

The Eagles, who Tapp has since learned hoped to draft him out of Tech in ’06, promptly added two years to Tapp’s contract, reportedly a $9 million deal that included a $3 million signing bonus.

Then they stitched his last name onto a green jersey bearing the number 91, Tapp’s Seattle blue No. 55 becoming a relic from another time.

“Technically I should get 55 because I’m an older player” than Philly linebacker Stewart Bradley, Tapp said. “But new team, new number. So I picked 91 from the options I had, plus Psalm 91 in the Bible is a pretty awesome chapter.”

Look only at sacks, the currency of defensive ends, and you don’t describe Tapp’s NFL four-year performance as awesome. A second-round pick, Tapp averaged just 4 1/2 sacks a year for a team that was dreadful the past two seasons.

But look deeper and you see a 25-year-old with relentless energy who has never missed a game, who plays the run well and who was among the league leaders last year in quarterback hits – QBs decked as they released the ball.

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