Players plan tribute for indicted 3

When the men's lacrosse team takes the field in Koskinen Stadium for an official game for the first time in almost a year Saturday, those in attendance will see three numbers on Duke's side of the field.

6, 45, 13.

The numbers worn by former players David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, respectively, will be featured on the Blue Devils' warm-up shirts before the game against Dartmouth, co-captain Matt Danowski confirmed Tuesday.

The three indicted players still face charges of first-degree kidnapping and sexual offense from allegations surrounding a team party last March, although they have strongly maintained their innocence and District Attorney Mike Nifong's case has been turned over to a special prosecutor. Evans graduated last May, and Seligmann and Finnerty have not returned to the University after Duke reinstated them before this semester.

Each current player will wear a number corresponding to his position, as Evans played defense, Seligmann midfield and Finnerty attack for Duke in 2006.

"That's the only time we're on the field without our jerseys on," Danowski said of the planned pre-game tribute. "It fit perfectly with them being a 'D,' middie and attackman."

Senior Peter Lamade developed the idea for the pre-game tribute and the rest of the team supported it, Danowski said.

In addition, the Blue Devils have ordered sweatbands and stickers adorned with the three players' numbers and a sticker to honor former Blue Devil Jimmy Regan, who was killed earlier this month while serving as a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq. Many players have also written 'MP,' former head coach Mike Pressler's initials, on their helmets.

Danowski said the mementos will provide powerful inspiration to the team throughout the upcoming season, both on the field and in all walks of life.

"They would give anything to be out here, anything to be a part of this team again," Danowski said of the former players. "If you're ever feeling bad for yourself, or you ever think that you're having a bad day, you just look down at your wrist or wherever it is to know that those guys have it a lot worse than we do, and we should be thankful we're here right now."

Head coach John Danowski said that he gives the players a lot of freedom regarding their decisions on how to honor Evans, Seligmann and Finnerty and remember the events of the past year. He added that the team's slogan, Succisa Virescit, Latin for "when cut down, it grows back stronger," was decided upon by the players.

"Many of the things that we do come from the players," John Danowski said. "It's their team, and I'm going to guide and provide guidance and structure, but I like to let them make those kinds of decisions about those kinds of things. It was up to them, and that's what they came up with. If you're thinking about your teammates, and you're making an effort, I think that's awesome. I'd like our team to be seen like that."


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