Give Terrell Davis and inch, and he would gladly take a yard – two or three, maybe 10 and possibly 60. He was just that greedy a running back for the Denver Broncos. And the Broncos didn’t mind Davis being greedy at all.
In the 78 regular season National Football League games he played for Denver, Davis established Broncos franchise rushing records for yards with 7,607 and touchdowns with 60, averaging nearly 5 yards each time he carried the football.
When the stakes were higher, Davis could elevate his game. In eight playoff games he gained 1,140 yards and rushed for 12 touchdowns, averaging nearly six yards a carry.
By the time he completed his fourth pro season, Davis had earned a regular season Most Valuable Player award and received the MVP award in Super Bowl XXXII after a 157-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Green Bay Packers. It was the first of two consecutive Super Bowls he helped the Broncos win.
What made Davis so special to the Broncos is the fact that he wasn’t a highly regarded talent from the University of Georgia in 1995. There were 195 players selected before the Broncos went for Davis in the sixth round. By the end of training camp, Davis had earned a starting job. It was the job Davis would not relinquish – gaining 1,117 yards in is rookie campaign.
“What stood out about Terrell was his mental toughness, more so than anything else,” Broncos running backs coach Bobby Turner said. “Getting the ugly yards – the third down-and-one, fourth-and-one…getting a yard when there was no hole. He had that drive – his legs didn’t stop.
“Terrell is not one of those guys to run 4.3 in a 40-yard dash, but he’s got that football speed. And he’s always fighting, getting the yards after the contact. He would crawl for an extra yard.”
Davis established himself as one of the league’s premier players in 1998, becoming only the third running back in NFL history to gain 2,000 yards (2,008) in a season. He also rushed for 21 touchdowns, which, at that time was an American Football Conference single-season record.
One year later, after the Broncos had capped off a 14-2 season by winning their second Super Bowl, Davis suffered a season-ending knee injury. A series of leg injuries in subsequent seasons continued to hamper his attempts to regain elite status among running backs in the league.
But there is no arguing the facts – when healthy; Davis was one of the most feared weapons in the NFL.
“He wasn’t a flash-and-dash runner – he was all about business on the field,” Turner said, “He had a nasty attitude – with and without the football. He was tough, special, one hundred percent a pro – a very unselfish player.”
Unselfish player. Powerful runner. Greedy runner. A force to be reckoned with at all times. Terrell Davis was that – and then some.
You can be the best person in the league but if you don’t win championships, something’s missing.