The most storied running back in Broncos’ history got to watch the franchise’s newest running back on Friday.
Terrell Davis was in town broadcasting for the NFL Network while rookie Montee Ball took reps with the first team. The greatest thing about it is that Davis is Ball’s all-time favorite player. Needless to say, it was a special moment for Ball when the two met after practice.
“I’ve been thinking about this moment since I’ve been seven years old, about meeting Terrell Davis and I finally did,” Ball said. “It’s crazy right now for me.”
The two spent about ten minutes talking. Ok, well it was mostly Davis doing the talking. Davis’ most important message to Ball was fundamental.
“Learn how to block,” Davis said. “Blocking is important. That was really the reason why I started to play, or got in. Running—most running backs can run, most running backs can catch, but blocking is the key. If you can block, you will in the game. You will be that guy who becomes that complete back.”
Davis said that he sees a lot of similarities between himself and Ball in that they’re both big backs. However, Davis believes that Ball is quicker than he ever was.
“He’s got great lateral movement, spin moves, good power,” Davis said. “Nobody’s going to bring him down on the first try, which is a great asset for a back.”
While Ball ran off to call his parents to let them know that he finally met he childhood idol, Davis took time to speak to the media. The most intriguing story he told was that of his famous hit in Tokyo during his rookie season. I’ll just let him tell it.
You know the hit, but you don’t know the story behind it. It was the second preseason game in Tokyo. Well, the first preseason game, I didn’t play at all. The second game, chances are I’m not going to play in the second game. It’s past halftime and I’m hungry, man, I’m starving. So about the third quarter, I’ve got hot dogs, I’ve got chili dogs, I’ve got French fries, I’ve got ding dongs, I’ve got Snickers—thinking I’m not going to play. So, come the fourth quarter, they come to me—I think it was [current Linebackers Coach Richard Smith], who was a special teams coach, he said, ‘Hey, we’re going to put you in.’ He asked me if I wanted to go in and I was thinking, ‘Dude, I just ate all kinds of food, I don’t know if I want to go in the game now.’ The game was basically over, so I said, ‘OK, I’ll go in.’ So I went in, thank God I did, I went in and made that hit. So then I’m thinking that’s the only play I’m going to play. Well, I come back to the sideline and Running Backs Coach Bobby Turner comes over and says, ‘Hey, we want you to play a few more snaps.’ I threw up after I ran out on the kick. Bobby comes over and says, ‘Are you OK?’ ‘Yeah, I’m fine Bobby.’ ‘Do you want to play?’ ‘Uh, sure man, I’ll go in.’ I went in and I think I had five runs or something like that. But that’s where it all started. I think back to that because if I had said to [Coach] Smith that I didn’t want to go in, who knows where I would be today? Again, it’s because I’m over there eating hot dogs and stuff. So, kids, don’t eat hot dogs when the opportunity presents itself (laughing). Or Ding Dongs or Kit Kats or whatever else we had.
Now a 2x Super Bowl winner and Ring of Fame member with 7,607 yards and 60 touchdowns to his name, Davis can give some good advice to rookies in camp.
“For me it’s just listen to what the coaches are telling you to do, try not to make any missed assignments or mental errors, and just show effort. I can’t give somebody skills or talent, that’s going to be up to that person, that individual.”
Montee Ball doesn’t necessarily have to worry about making the team, but he does have to worry about trying to fill some big shoes one Mile High Salute at a time.