The New York Giants have always been an organization known to take care of their own. Whether a player is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, or a seventh-round draft pick that didn't make the team in training camp, the mantra "Once a Giant, Always a Giant" runs deep throughout the entire organization. Today, the Detroit Free Press reports that Charles Drake, former University of Michigan standout and 2003 seventh-round draft pick by the New York Giants, has passed away at the age of 30. The cause of death has not been disclosed.
Charles Drake attended Westchester High School in Los Angeles, California. He was named an All-City running back in both is junior and senior seasons, which gained him enough recognition to be recruited by some of the best college programs in the country.
Although many tried to convince him to stay home and play for local powerhouse USC, Drake decided to take his talents to Ann Arbor to play for coach Lloyd Carr. Drake's former high school and college teammate Courtney Morgan commented on the decision to play for the Wolverines.
"We were both big college football fans out here and grew up with an appreciation for the big programs," Morgan said. "When it came time to make a decision, at that time it was 1998 and Michigan was on top, having won the national championship, it was kind of a no-brainer. We weren't scared to compete. A lot of people in California tried to talk us out of going out there and staying at USC, but we felt Michigan put us on a bigger stage."
Drake went to Michigan with high hopes, but he only received twelve carries as a freshman. Halfway through his first season, he was moved to defensive back, where he spent the remainder of his college career. He was able to have a respectable career at Michigan, which enabled him to get drafted by the Giants in the seventh-round of the 2003 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, Drake failed to make the team in training camp and was released. He caught on with the Detroit Lions' practice squad for a short period of time; however, Drake's NFL career was over almost as soon as it began.
Charles Drake is not an all-time great New York Giant. He didn't make any acrobatic interceptions, or force any fumbles. He didn't win any awards or ever sign a big contract. In fact, he never even suited up for Big Blue on game day. However, for the short amount of time Charles Drake was on the roster, he gave everything had had to this team and this organization. At the end of the day, that's really all you can ask of any professional football player.
At the age of 30, Charles Drake's left this world way too early. Giants 101 would like to send our condolences to his family, friends, and former teammates that knew him best.
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