DaMarcus Ganaway is on a few of Robert Hunter’s long strange trips this offseason with the Jets.
For one thing, off the field the free agent wideout may soon be venturing into his past to answer one of the most frequently asked questions of him in the Jets locker room: Are you and Terrance related?
“Not that we know of,” DaMarcus said with a smile about his fellow NFL newbie, sixth-round running back Terrance Ganaway. “But we’ve been talking about it and we’re talking about going to ancestry.com or a Website like that. We get along really well and we want to look into it.”
On the surface, there’s no reason to assume the two are long-lost cousins. DaMarcus grew up in Indianapolis and excelled at Kentucky Wesleyan College. Terrance, meanwhile, is Texas born and bred, growing up in DeKalb near the Arkansas and Oklahoma borders and then plying his football trade in college at Houston and, more famously, Baylor.
On the other hand, DaMarcus said, “The name isn’t that common. And my mom said we have some family down South. It’d be crazy if we were related.”
The other trek has been for Ganaway to get to where he is now, vying for a spot on the crowded wideout depth chart.
“It’s been a journey,” he said, again in a light rather than heavy mood.
DaMarcus after all is a rare “tweener,” considered a first-year player with NFL “experience” while effectively still a rookie, on his first NFL roster, similar in a way to TE Hayden Smith, who first turned to rugby after his non-football career at a small Denver college.
Ganaway’s senior season at Wesleyan was 2010, and a decent one it was: a team-leading 68 catches for 1,035 yards and touchdowns, which led to his being named Great Lakes Conference Receiver of the Year.
But KWC is an NCAA Division II school that has never had an alumnus play in the NFL. And no doubt level of competition conspired with last year’s lockout to prevent him from latching on anywhere. Other than a bye week workout with the Jets last October, he didn’t get a pro sniff.
But Ganaway still got some NFL exposure, he told Kristian Dyer of Metro New York, by working out with a few big names, among them perennial Cardinals Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald. How’d that happen? Well, Ganaway’s rep is Indy-based superagent Eugene Parker, who has represented Curtis Martin over the years, not to mention Fitzgerald.
“Yeah, we have the same agent, and the camp Larry does up in Minnesota, I was a part of that, too,” Ganaway said. “This offseason I was training in New Orleans with guys like Larry and Torrance Small, who used to play for the Saints.”
Ganaway, Dyer detailed, slept on the floor of brother MarQueis Gray, who just happened to be the U. of Minnesota’s starting QB, during the summer, then once the season began and he had no team, he headed for Jacksonville to be with his girlfriend and two children and work out, often alone.
The Jets signed him in January to a reserve/future deal, then waived him in early April and re-signed him later last month, a procedural matter. Since then, the 6’2″, 185-pounder has been wearing the green and white, showing good hands and drawing occasional kudos from coordinator Tony Sparano.
“I’m excited to be here for my first time as a pro,” he said, “being in this facility with Coach Sparano and [WRs coach] Sanjay Lal. Especially after not playing last year, I feel I need to catch up. The game can lose you, and some things fall through the cracks.”
He’s got plenty of competition before he’s got a job. Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley and Patrick Turner return, Chaz Schilens arrived from Oakland in free agency, and Stephen Hill was drafted in Round 2. For maybe one more active roster spot, he’s got to fight off Round 7 rookie Jordan White, second-year man Dexter Jackson, first-year returnees Scotty McKnight and Eron Riley, and undrafted free agent signee Royce Pollard.
But Ganaway’s finally got a toehold. And he’s among family, maybe even more family than he first thought.
“Hard Knocks” Search Reaches a Fin-ale
NFL Films and HBO just announced this afternoon that they’ve finally settled on an NFL team for this summer’s next “Hard Knocks” miniseries. And the winner is the Miami Dolphins. We know many Jets fans are disappointed at this news … and many more are relieved that the Jets will not be reprising their roles, teamwise and individually, as the stars of the 2010 training camp series.
So it looks like just another boring month of August getting ready for the regular season up in Cortland, N.Y. …
Tags: DaMarcus Ganaway, Eugene Parker, Hard Knocks, Kentucky Wesleyan, Larry Fitzgerald, Santonio Holmes, Terrance Ganaway, Tony Sparano
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