When Darryl Tapp had his exit interview with the Detroit Lions' coaching staff in January, he left with an inkling he would be returning to the franchise for a second season in 2015.
What surprised him, though, is how soon he ended up back with the Lions.
The Lions actually re-signed Tapp to a one-year deal a little bit after the NFL combine, but the deal ended up being announced Monday -- still way earlier than he expected to be brought back. And that left Tapp, who just moved into a new home in Northern Virginia and has been training with Lions defensive end Devin Taylor during the offseason, pretty happy about his situation.
“I wanted to be here and I feel like this is a great situation, the way they do things,” Tapp told ESPN.com Monday afternoon. “The way everybody is on the same page as far as the powers that be upstairs, the players, everybody was together.
“That’s so unique on this level, the NFL, that’s very rare. I’m just happy with the way they do things around here.”
Tapp saw that early in his tenure with Detroit. He was cut following training camp last season but team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew told him there was a good chance the team would bring him back soon -- essentially after the team placed Kyle Van Noy on injured reserve-designated to return.
What impressed him, though, was that instead of waiting until after the first week of the season, when veteran contracts would not be guaranteed for the season, the team brought him back for the first game of the year. That meant his contract as a vested veteran would be guaranteed.
That was something the Lions didn’t have to do, but did -- leaving an impression on Tapp.
Tapp, who turns 31 this season, had 17 tackles and a half-sack last season as a rotational defensive end and emergency defensive tackle. He said the Lions haven’t told him what they envision his role being in 2015, but that might have to do with the questions surrounding many of Detroit’s other defensive linemen, including Nick Fairley, C.J. Mosley, Andre Fluellen, George Johnson and Ndamukong Suh.
As for Suh, Tapp said he’s paying attention to what happens with the defensive tackle he considers a “little brother” much like everybody else in the NFL.
“I’ve played with this guy for an entire year,” Tapp said. “I’ve seen how he prepares and seen how he does things, which is the right way. The intensity that he brings to practice, takes care of his body and he’s a consummate professional.
“He deserves everything that he gets and will get and I just hope that it’ll be in the Honolulu blue.”