The seven-year veteran was born in Portsmouth and attended Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake with fellow Redskin DeAngelo Hall. The two have been friends since a young age, were teammates at Virginia Tech, and reunited after Tapp joined the Redskins earlier this year.
“It’s fun, man,” Hall said of being back on the same team as Tapp. “I’m seeing a lot of (University of Miami) jerseys out here so it’s nice to have another Tech guy around, especially from my area.
“I grew up with Tapp, same elementary school, middle school, high school, and in college, so it’s definitely nice to have him around.”
Hall graduated from Deep Creek in 2001 and headed to Blacksburg, where Tapp would follow a year later. The two played together for two years before Hall entered the 2004 NFL draft, with Tapp following two years later.
Tapp was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks and Hall was selected by the Atlanta Falcons. Tapp said he did not think the two would play together again — until he found himself in Richmond at Redskins’ training camp this summer.
Since returning to Virginia, Tapp said he has been able to reconnect with his friends and family in the area who have made the trip up to Richmond.
“It’s an awesome feeling to be in an area where people support you,” he said. “For me, some of them have seen me grow up from high school, through college, and now playing at the highest level. It’s an honor and a pleasure to play here.”
Tapp grew up a die-hard Redskins fan, and said that it was a dream come true to be able to play for his favorite team. He said that he was amazed by the turnout at each of the Redskins’ practices, despite the hot weather.
“I’ve always been a Redskins fan, but you get a new appreciation when you’re playing for the team and the fans are out here in the thousands supporting you in every practice,” Tapp said. “Even though it’s starting to get blazing out here, they’re out here in full force.”
This training camp, though, has been different for Tapp than his previous seven. Not only has he switched cities, teams and uniforms, he also is making the move from defensive end to outside linebacker as a part of defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s 3-4 scheme.
Playing primarily defensive end in his first seven seasons, Tapp recorded 257 tackles, 24 sacks, nine forced fumbles, and two interceptions in 103 career games. He said that he has remained positive throughout and that he has welcomed the transition, doing everything he can to make it as smooth as possible.
“The biggest thing for me is getting used to being in coverage more on a full time basis,” Tapp said. “Other than that, football is football. You just have to go get the guy with the ball.”
Other than moving closer to home to play for his favorite team, Tapp said that he had one other motive for signing with the Redskins, who won the NFC East division title last season.
“I want to win,” he said.
Tapp has a career record of 50-62 with only three playoff appearances. He said that he is hoping to turn his luck around this coming season.
“I’m so tired of losing, I just want to win,” he said. “There could be no better place for me to win than with my hometown team.”