Davis’ short ca­reer ends spec­tac­u­larly

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

CAN­TON, Ohio — Ter­rell Davis had one of the most spec­tac­u­lar, although short, NFL ca­reers. But his seven sea­sons were bril­liant enough to get him into the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame.

The former Bron­cos run­ning back was in­ducted Sat­ur­day night. He went from an ob­scure sixth-round draft pick from Ge­or­gia to a league MVP and two-time Su­per Bowl win­ner. Davis was the cat­a­lyst for the NFL ti­tles Den­ver won in 1997 and 1998 with an­other Hall of Famer, John El­way, at quar­ter­back.

He was joined in the 2017 class by safety Kenny Easley, run­ning back LaDainian Tom­lin­son, kicker Morten An­der­sen, de­fen­sive end Ja­son Tay­lor, quar­ter­back Kurt Warner

and Dal­las Cow­boys owner and North Lit­tle Rock na­tive Jerry Jones. The in­duc­tion cer­e­mony was on­go­ing at press time, and Jones had yet to be en­shrined.

The 1996 and 1998 Of­fen­sive Player of the Year, 1997 Su­per Bowl MVP and 1998 NFL MVP, Davis’ me­te­oric stint came to an ugly end with a knee in­jury in 1999. That, in great part, kept him out of the Hall for more than a decade.

Now he’s in, with a re­sume in­clud­ing one of the great­est sea­sons in the NFL. In 1998, Davis be­came the fourth run­ner to rush for 2,000 yards in a sea­son (2,008) and led the NFL with 21 touch­downs rush­ing. In the 1998 play­offs, he rushed for a fran­chise post­sea­son-record 199 yards against the Dol­phins, then for 167 yards against the Jets, and 102 yards in the 1999 Su­per Bowl vic­tory over the At­lanta Fal­cons.

Dur­ing his speech, de­liv­ered in a burst of rain that tem­po­rar­ily thinned the crowd, Davis talked about once “star­ing down the bar­rel of a shot­gun” as a trou­bled teenager.

“Thank god some­one talked the guy out of pulling the trig­ger,” said Davis, who then de­ter­mined to turn his life around.

An­der­sen, the NFL’s ca­reer scor­ing leader, be­came just the sec­ond place-kicker in­ducted into the Hall.

An­der­sen played 25 pro sea­sons, a league record, mostly for the Saints. He also was with the Fal­cons, Giants, Chiefs and Vik­ings, play­ing 382 to­tal games.

The left-footed kicker from Den­mark — his se­lec­tion in

Fe­bru­ary set off cel­e­bra­tions back home, where Amer­i­can foot­ball hardly is a sports sta­ple — scored 2,544 points (565 field goals, 849 ex­tra points). He is the all-time scor­ing leader for both New Or­leans and At­lanta and was a five-time All-Pro.

“Good even­ing, Can­ton, Ohio,” he be­gan. “Good morn­ing, Den­mark.

“My story isn’t only about my love for my coun­try of Den­mark and its peo­ple,” he said, “but also my deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion and re­spect for what I dis­cov­ered here in the United States of Amer­ica.”

The sack master Tay­lor was elected in his first year of el­i­gi­bil­ity.

A star mostly with Mi­ami, Tay­lor also spent one sea­son with the Red­skins and one with the Jets. In his 15 NFL sea­sons, he was a three-time All-Pro and the 2006 De­fen­sive Player of the Year. He had 13½ sacks, 2 in­ter­cep­tions re­turned for touch­downs, 11 passes de­fensed, 10 forced fum­bles, 2 fum­ble re­cov­er­ies and 62 tack­les that sea­son.

Easley, a hard-hit­ting safety for the Sea­hawks and a mem­ber of the 1980s All-Decade Team, also was in­ducted.

A se­niors com­mit­tee choice, Easley played only seven sea­sons and 89 games for Seat­tle. His ca­reer was cut short by kid­ney dis­ease.

The 1981 NFL De­fen­sive Rookie of the Year, Easley was the league’s top over­all de­fender in 1984 when he had a league-lead­ing 10 in­ter­cep­tions, a ca­reer high.

Easley, who was pre­sented for in­duc­tion by his high school coach, Tommy Rhodes, re­tired af­ter the 1987 sea­son. He had to wait 24 years be­fore be­ing voted into the hall.

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