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Devard Darling

Postby CC » Sat May 01, 2004 2:38 pm

If you didn't know about this already here is an article from ESPN.com
Devard Darling and his twin brother came to the United States from the Bahamas when they were 12. Both immediately took a liking to football, and together they became good enough to earn full scholarships to Florida State.

Their quest to reach the NFL together abruptly and tragically ended when Devaughn, a talented linebacker, died while working out during the 2001 offseason.

Now, as Devard begins his professional career with the Baltimore Ravens, he intends to carry the memory of his brother onto the football field. Every catch he makes, and each touchdown he scores, will be dedicated to Devaughn, whose spirit lives on within Devard's heart.

"I live for him. I live for two," Darling said Friday, shortly before the Ravens launched a two-day minicamp for rookies. "He is me and I am him. He's not here physically, so I have to take it on for him. Everything I do is for him."

Because both Darlings inherited the sickle cell trait, which doctors concluded caused the cardiac arrhythmia that killed Devaughn, Florida State offered to honor his scholarship but refused to allow Devard to continue playing.

He left for Washington State, where he underwent a battery of tests to make sure his health was sound.

"It was a real tough time for me," he said. "It was like, they took my brother away from me and now they're trying to take football away from me."

Darling caught 106 passes for 1,666 yards and 19 touchdowns in college, and now he's hoping to catch on with the Ravens after being drafted in the third round with the 82nd overall pick.

He comes into an ideal situation, given that the Ravens' passing game ranked last in the NFL in 2003 and the only wide receiver back with more than 14 catches on that team is Travis Taylor.

The addition of Darling and Kevin Johnson, obtained in a draft day deal with Jacksonville, should give Baltimore more weapons on the outside in 2004.

"We know we wanted to acquire some help at the receiver position," offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh said. "We did it through trade; we did it through the draft. You never know who steps up as your go-to guy."

Darling believes he can assume that role.

"As a receiver, you want to help and contribute any way you can. My game is being a playmaker, so I want to stretch the field and make big plays," he said. "Hopefully, I can fit into this offense really well."

The Ravens are convinced that his health will not be an issue, which is a relief to Darling. After he took his physical, he entered the locker room, thick playbook in hand, and flashed a broad smile.

"This is my dream right here, to be here and be associated with a great team like this," he said. "I have a good situation here in Baltimore. I'm looking to step in and contribute any way I can."

Before the draft, Darling was forced to undergo countless examinations and physicals. It was nothing he hadn't experienced before.

"I'm a perfectly healthy guy. I took all the tests out there numerous times," he said. "I don't know what else they expect from me. I'm just as healthy, or even more healthy, than all these guys out here.

"I've been going through that the past couple of years. I'm just ready to get that black cloud out from over my head and play."

The only thing missing is his brother.

"We were always a packaged deal," Darling said. "Together. Forever."


Had he waited another year and not had this heart problem he would be a 1st round pick, he is definetly a guy to keep an eye on this year.
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Postby TheHeat24 » Sat May 01, 2004 2:59 pm

Hes awesome and I think hes was a complete steal, hes got size and speed... When wash st played my longhorns I was extremely impressed by this guy...even tho he didnt have a big day i think it was mainly because of his avg Qb in matt kegal... Cheese is right if this man stayed an extra year he wouldve been one of the top receivers in the draft...Hes in a great position in Baltimore.
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Postby Canacuna » Sat May 01, 2004 3:15 pm

Devard Darling = Awesomeness.

Possible S.O.D., methinks. He can come in and contribute immediately to Baltimore - even so far as to maybe be the teams' leading receiver. He definitely has the talent to do so.
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Postby JrcWy » Sat May 01, 2004 11:17 pm

HEY, no fair! I called him first as the steal of the draft! I agree that he would have been a 1st round pick had he played his senior year. But its hard to blame him for going, he was ready for bigger things than life here in the Palouse. Makes me wonder who is going to be catching all the TD passes here at WSU now that he and all our other recievers are gone. Darling will be missed here but should be welcomed in Baltimore.
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Postby Canacuna » Sun May 02, 2004 3:48 pm

JrcWY wrote:HEY, no fair! I called him first as the steal of the draft! I agree that he would have been a 1st round pick had he played his senior year. But its hard to blame him for going, he was ready for bigger things than life here in the Palouse. Makes me wonder who is going to be catching all the TD passes here at WSU now that he and all our other recievers are gone. Darling will be missed here but should be welcomed in Baltimore.


WSU is screwed next year, methinks. Their top two RBs are both gone, their top three WRs are gone...

...even Kegal is gone. I don't know about Swogger - I wasn't impressed by him... :-o

Troy Bienemann (29 receptions, 273 yards) and Chris Jordan (28 receptions, 341 yards) are looking like the top two WRs next year...
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Postby JrcWy » Sun May 02, 2004 4:34 pm

Canacuna wrote:
JrcWY wrote:HEY, no fair! I called him first as the steal of the draft! I agree that he would have been a 1st round pick had he played his senior year. But its hard to blame him for going, he was ready for bigger things than life here in the Palouse. Makes me wonder who is going to be catching all the TD passes here at WSU now that he and all our other recievers are gone. Darling will be missed here but should be welcomed in Baltimore.


WSU is screwed next year, methinks. Their top two RBs are both gone, their top three WRs are gone...

...even Kegal is gone. I don't know about Swogger - I wasn't impressed by him... :-o

Troy Bienemann (29 receptions, 273 yards) and Chris Jordan (28 receptions, 341 yards) are looking like the top two WRs next year...


I don't think the offense will miss either of our RBs too much. Green was a bust last season and Smith was medicore most games. Swogger was only a freshman last season and while not flashy, I think he will at least measure up to Kegal and opefully much better once he has a little more experience. I've even watched the team scrimmage some this year and I think the D will be just as good as last year. Our sore spot is definitely wide receivers now, like canacuna mentioned. My guess is that Mart Martin will end up as our reception leader ad he seems to be the only glimse of hope. Which makes me believe the cougs are going to be focusing on running the ballthis year with Chris Bruhn who is better than Smith or Green IMO. Of course I'm a little bias and am hoping for more success since I already have my season tickets bought.
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Postby mannubhai » Tue May 04, 2004 4:31 am

Times have definetly changed. People talking positive about a Raven WR. I hope Darling turns around to be the best WR in the draft taken after a couple of years. Alright I might be pushing it, but who knows?
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Postby Azrael » Tue May 04, 2004 7:27 pm

Ravens wideouts are giving off that same stagnation as we thought that all of Arizona's would last year...is that another Anquan in Baltimore?
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