‘Dome’coming for Giants’ Webster

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 17, 2009



Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote this week that “Drew Brees will discover how good a corner Corey Webster is Sunday.”

Rotoworld’s Evan Silva opined that Devery Henderson could be in for a big day Sunday, drawing Brees’ attention as opposed to usual top target Marques Colston, who will be covered by “shutdown cornerback Corey Webster.”

The Vacherie native allowed only one touchdown pass since the beginning of last year – Week 9 of the NFL season, against the Dallas Cowboys. Now, the media is taking notice of his dominant play. And that play is going to be of chief concern to the Saints on Sunday as they take on Webster’s Giants in the Superdome in a battle of undefeated teams.

A former standout at St. James High School and LSU, Webster returns to the Superdome for the first time since 2004, when he and the Tigers won the BCS National Championship game against Oklahoma.

Webster also visited the Dome when he quarterbacked in the state championship game as a sophomore at St. James – in an ironic twist, Webster has played quarterback in the Superdome more than Giants quarterback and New Orleans native Eli Manning.

Now he returns, regarded as one of the NFL’s top players.

“It gives me goosebumps when I hear these things about him,” said Lorraine Webster, Corey’s mother. “I guess I never knew football that well to realize what kind of player he really was. It warms my heart to read those things about him.”

But success didn’t always come so easy on the NFL level to Webster.

Two years ago, Webster struggled mightily for the Giants, to the point that he was demoted to special teams duty.

But when a rash of injuries hit the New York secondary, Webster was pressed back into duty. And he pressed on.

The 2007 playoffs would be his big stage. His play gave the Giants enough confidence in him to slap him on the opposition’s top receiver, whoever it might be.

Tampa’s Joey Galloway was first on the docket. Then Dallas’ Terrell Owens was up. Then Green Bay’s Donald Driver had to deal with him. Randy Moss capped things off in the Super Bowl.

He proved to be a handful for all. He’s got a Super Bowl ring to prove it.

For many, a demotion like Webster experienced in only his third year would erode confidence away, not something a cornerback at any level can afford.

But his ability to bounce back was no surprise to his high school coach, Rick Gaille.

He’d seen Webster’s resiliency first hand when he was playing quarterback at St. James.

“He started for us as a sophomore,” Gaille recalled. “And I remember one game in particular, against West Jefferson. He made an error on a short yardage play, and he came to the sideline so angry, so upset at himself. He showed me how much he cared about our team.

“Then he showed me his ability to bounce back, to play as if it hadn’t happened. That ability is very, very special.”

Gaille remembers much else about Webster. His professionalism, his insistence that everything be done the right way, and his leadership on and off the field chief among them.

“All of the qualities we try to teach our kids,” Gaille said, “Corey displays every single day. So many things have to go right when you’re a prep athlete to get to the college level, let alone the NFL. But you always knew he’d be very successful at something, be it football or not. He’s a great example for others.”

For Webster’s friends and family, Sunday is another chance to see him play.

“I’ve gone to a lot of his other games, but coming home is such a heart warming thing,” said Lorraine Webster. “We have lots of family, and his close friends that will be able to witness it in the Dome for the first time in a long time. I feel so proud.”