If Darryl Tapp is as good a player as he is a nice man, the Eagles may have found themselves their next great defensive end.
Of course, being "nice" has nothing to do with being a good football player.
Tapp met with the local media today at the NovaCare Complex, not long after he signed a three-year extension. The Eagles acquired Tapp on Tuesday after they traded defensive end Chris Clemons and a fourth-round pick to Seattle in exhange for the 25-year-old.
Gap-toothed and always smiling, Tapp has been labeled as a guy that hasn't yet reached his full potential. He recorded a career-high seven sacks in 2007, but has seen his numbers decline in the last two seasons. Last year, he notched only 2.5 sacks. Tapp said that numbers can be deceiving. He said he had 18 quarterback hits last season, which were the most of his career.
During a conference call Tuesday, he said the Eagles hadn't exactly explained to him what his role would be in their defense. He said he spoke only briefly with defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who is currently out of town.
"Coach Reid did tell me that I would be playing left defensive end opposite Trent Cole," Tapp said. "So I'm going to prepare to come in here and work my way up and push myself into a starting role."
Tapp has received glowing character references from people inside and outside of football. Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers wasn't one of them. In December, the Packers quarterback claimed that Tapp bit his arm during a game two months earlier.
"There wasn't a whole lot of words spoken," Rodgers said then. "I looked down and my arm was hurt and it felt like a bee sting. I was looking down and he was biting my arm so I had to get his teeth off my shoulder. Luckily I was wearing a long sleeve so I don't know if he actually [broke the skin]. I had a bruise for the rest of the season. Other than that I was good."
Tapp denied the accusation then and he did today, too.
Tapp, who was married three weeks ago, did not refute an e-mail I received from Gary Kinder, a former professor of his at Virginia Tech.
"I worked with Darryl during his entire college career at Virginia Tech," Kinder wrote. "The Eagles have gotten one of the finest young men of character I've ever had the pleasure with which to be associated. Darryl is a decent, God-fearing true gentle giant gentleman. Philly's gain is Seattle's loss in every sense of the word."