The Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper was drafted with the 101st pick by the Dallas Cowboys last year. However, he didn’t play because of a congenital back condition, but now he is ready to contribute for the team. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Charles Tapper.
Where has he been the last year?
He was just about to play his first preseason game against the Rams when he woke up with the severe pain in his back. After a few days, Tapper was diagnosed with a stress fracture called a “pars defect.” In September, last year, Tapper said: “They said I’ve had it since I was a little boy. When you look at my spine, it’s like it’s not attached in there. When I don’t take care of it or get treatment, that’s when it flares up.”
“First time it was diagnosed, I just thought when you wake up, you know you got a little back pain, I’ll be good. I went to sleep the next day and I can’t even move my leg; I don’t know if I’m paralyzed or something. It was pretty painful,” continued Charles.
Will he be back?
He will be ready for the new season because he has been participating in the Cowboys offseason activities. The owner and the GM of the Cowboys, Jerry Jones said: “He should have a great spring. He’s a hard worker, and I have every reason to believe he’s a contributor. I don’t know that I’m concerned about [his back] as much as I am about him getting his work in and becoming a better football player during the offseason.”
Tapper told during the first week of OTAs: “I’m at full-throttle, full-go, so I’m out there going 110 [miles per hour] and they’re like, ‘Tap, you might want to slow it down and just go 100. Don’t be on the ground, diving and everything.’ I’m trying to tone it down a little bit now.”
He played other sports before football.
He was into basketball earlier in his life, but Oklahoma called and offered him a scholarship. Tapper remembered: “(Assistant Sooners) Coach (Bobby Jack) Wright had called the phone one day and said Oklahoma was sending me a full scholarship, I said wait, for basketball? He was like no, for football. I was like no way! You playing with my phone or something?”
He had a trainer who convinced him to go for it: “Me and my mom, we had met this guy named Cory Robinson (a personal trainer). We were just sitting down, he and my mom. The first thing he said to me is do you want a Honda or a Lamborghini?” Tapper recalled. “He said, pick your choice. I said of course, a Lamborghini. So he said, if you play this football and give me a chance to show you what I can do and show you the things to make you better, you could be driving a Lamborghini in three years.”
Charles Tapper + three adopted brothers
Charles is the only biological son of his mother Ronda who is a foster and adoptive parent, so he has three adopted brothers as well.
His dad passed away when he was only a four-year-old boy. One of his brothers is in his 40s, and he is like a father to Charles. The story from Oklahoman says: Randy said he’s modeled his approach to being a father — and an older brother — from what he saw from Charles’ dad.
“Randy has been instrumental in every way,” Rhonda said. “He was there emotionally, financially and in every aspect. Randy really embraced being Charles’ big brother.”
Charles is a father now
Tapper’s mother was everything to him while he was growing up and now, Charles himself became a father to Adriana Michelle. Even though she is just a kid, they watch football together, but she is a fan of Steph Curry, unlike her daddy who prefers LeBron James.
“She’s been doing a little screaming for Steph Curry and I’m like ah, I don’t know if we could do that,” Tapper said at Cowboys OTAs. “I like LeBron a little bit. I’m a Kyrie Irving fan.”
He was the fastest lineman in 2016 NFL Draft
Charles recorded the best 40-time for any defensive lineman, at 4:59. However, when he arrived in Dallas, he was called Fat Boy with his 280 pounds and 15 percent body fat. Now, he has 260 pounds and 11 percent body fat, and his goal is to reach 255 pounds.
Army All-America Bowl Combine is where he got noticed.
His first competitive season was his junior season in high school when he had 50 tackles and 10 sacks. His first scholarship offers arrived after the combine from Oklahoma, Miami (FL), Penn State and West Virginia.
He loves NBA 2K
Although he plays football now, it seems that basketball is in his veins and he said that he is the best at 2K of all the defensive linemen. “I beat up on all of them,” Tapper said. “They can’t beat me. I beat Maliek in 2K 50-0.”
He threw a punch and got suspended
When he played against Baylor in 2013, he punched a Baylor’s offensive lineman after he tapped him in the facemask. He got the suspension and was ejected from that game, and he realized that it was the stupidest things he has ever done.
“That was one of the dumbest things I ever did in my life,” this Cowboys player stated. “I mean, you cannot let that kind of anger and aggression be used on that field.”
“Like when the young guys have little fights in practice, I’m like, ‘Come on, guys. That’s dumb,’ ” Tapper added. “There are so many things that can go wrong. You could break your hand. You could get into a serious altercation where you swing your helmet and go to jail. A lot of dumb things can happen when you’re fighting on the football field, where you can just use your aggressive in another way. Football’s an aggressive sport so you can always get them back within the lines.”