CANTON, Ohio – Terrell Davis’ life changed the night he nearly lost it.
Speaking at his Hall-of-Fame induction Saturday night, the former Denver Broncos’ running back recalled how the death of his father was “the greatest pain I ever experienced.’’ Fourteen years old and lost in his grief, Davis dropped out of football and nearly out of life until he found himself staring down the barrel of a shotgun.
Fortunately for Davis, the Broncos and pro football history, Davis escaped and went home that night to ponder the direction of his life.
“When I got home, I went to bed, closed my eyes and relived every moment,’’ Davis recalled in his induction speech. “I knew I had to change my life. God had offered me a wake-up call.’’
Davis answered that call and overcame a number of setbacks before he was finally handed the ball by the Broncos after nearly leaving the team early in his rookie season when the Broncos were in Japan.
A year later, Davis began a three-year run that is among the best in pro football history. It was one he capped by rushing for 2,008 yards in 1998 on his way to a second straight Super Bowl championship.
The next season he would suffer a severe knee injury that effectively short circuited his career. He would never again run like the T.D. he’d been, but he had by then made good on his promise to God and himself when he was a shivering 14-year-old boy lying in bed with a vision of a shotgun staring back at him.
He had changed his life. And, as things would turn out, football’s history as well