Pirates in the Big Apple
by Brian North

While on vacation in upstate New York last week, I stopped in at Giants camp in Albany to check up on former Pirates Damane Duckett and Guy Whimper.

Duckett is in his third year with the G-Men and is competing for a starting spot at defensive tackle. Damane went undrafted out of ECU and was picked up by the Panthers as a free agent. He was waived halfway through the 2004 season and was quickly picked up by the Giants. Duckett registered his first career NFL sack and was brought back for the 2005 season where he played eight games and helped New York win the NFC East. Damane says he is a more mature player now and understands about being a professional. He said "I am staying in the classroom a lot more, learning from other people and helping myself by listening to the coaches and watching more film."

Damane is also keeping an eye on his former ECU defensive line mate Guy Whimper. The Havelock native was drafted in the fourth round and is trying to learn two positions on the offensive line. Whimper spends one practice at left tackle, and the next at right tackle. He says it's tough moving around, but it gives him a better chance of playing in the future.

Guy will get his first taste of NFL action Friday night when the Giants visit the Ravens. And it will also give Duckett and Whimper a chance to catch up with another former Pirate. Brian Rimpf started seven games at right guard for Baltimore last season and is trying to win a starting spot this year. He and Duckett should bump helmets several times Friday night.

In fact, NFL camps are filled with former Pirates. Vonte Leach (Packers), Terrence Copper (Cowboys), and Ja'Warren Blair (Browns) are a few of the guys who will try to impress their coaches in the preseason and make the cut down to the final 53 roster spots. David Garrard (Jaguars) and Rod Coleman (Falcons) are assured roster spots and will try to get tuned up for the regular season.
Brian North