T.D. says his HOF career wasn’t “short;” it was “efficient”

Terrell Davis may have had one of the most challenging Hall-of-Fame resumes to evaluate in NFL history, but, in the end, he did what he’d always done during his brief stint in the NFL. He got across the goal line.

Davis was among the 2017 Hall-of-Fame class of inductees selected two weeks ago, and the glow of that selection has yet to wear off of the former league and Super Bowl MVP.

“I can’t stop smiling,’’ Davis told Talk of Fame Network hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge on this week’s show. “I was pretty surprised.’’

Davis had three of the most brilliant seasons in NFL history with the Denver Broncos, rushing for 1,538, 1,750 and 2,008 yards and 49 touchdowns while gaining another 1,140 yards and two Super Bowl titles in three playoff appearances before a terrible knee injury cut his career short. He would ultimately play seven seasons, but only 16 games over the final three years of his career.

Longevity is a major component of any Hall-of-Fame career. Gale Sayers’ five-years of dominance have always been considered the outlier in that area, the brevity of his time in the NFL not being seen as enough to mar its brilliance.

The debate over Davis lasted several years before the knock came on his door. When it did, Davis was so sure it would not happen this year  — primarily because of the presence of fellow running back LaDainian Tomlinson on the ballot — that he prepared a graceful acceptance of another year of waiting.

In fact, Davis said he asked his wife to create a tweet congratulating this year’s winners, expressing his disappointment and hoping that 2018 would be his year.

“The process is difficult, as it should be,’’ Davis said. “You only have five slots per year. How do you cram in all these players who are so deserving? Tim Brown told me when this started ‘be patient.’’’

Asked whether longevity is a legitimate issue for Hall-of-Fame induction, Davis conceded it was but added, “I never thought of it in that fashion. My career wasn’t short. It was efficient.’’

Indeed it was, so efficient that next August Terrell Davis will join the most exclusive fraternity in sports at the Hall of Fame.

This week the guys also visit with Hall-of-Fame voter Dan Pompei, who next year should argue the case of Bears’ linebacker Brian Urlacher, if he becomes a finalist. Urlacher will be in his first year of eligibility but faces a difficult road with a potential slate of 13 first-team all-decade selections, including the Ravens’ Ray Lewis, who was the measuring stick at middle linebacker during the era they shared.

In our weekly “State Your Case’’ segment, Clark makes a strong case for a receiver time has forgotten. When Billy Howton retired in 1963 he was the NFL’s all-time leader in both receptions and yardage, yet has never gotten a sniff of Hall-of-Fame consideration. Clark wonders why and makes a strong argument for his inclusion.

Our resident Dr. Data is also back. Rick dons his lab coat and explains why this time of year the NFL becomes a young man’s game that threatens the careers of players 30 or older, almost regardless of their resumes.

There’s all that and more during the weekly two-hour show from the Rinnai Studios available on SB Nation Radio, Sirius 93 Wednesday nights at 8 Eastern or on the show’s free podcast at iTunes. You can also hear the show simply by going to our website, talkoffamenetwork.com.

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  1. Martin Sexton
    February 17, 2017

    “…Urlacher will be in his first year of eligibility but faces a difficult road with a potential slate of 13 first-team all-decade selections…” This is true but being a 1st team all decade member obviously doesn’t guarantee your admittance in the Hall. Ask Drew Pearson, Cliff Harris from the 70’s, Jimbo Covert from the 80’s, and Tony Boselli, Steve Atwater, and LeRoy Butler from the 90’s, how much being all-decade have helped their entries. Makes one wonder what these poor fellows did to be the last ones picked on the playground🤔. If being an all-decade selection is an important criteria (and it should be) let’s clean up the forgotten few who have been passed over for some reason. By the way TO, wait as long as these deserving players have waited, and THEN cry foul!

    • February 17, 2017

      Nailed it, Martin. Why I dont get this T.O. thing. Put him in now, supporters demand, or else … What about Pearson? Hes waited over 30 years and he was all-decade FIRST team. He and Carmichael are the only all-decade WRs from 70s, 80s and 90s not in Hall, and they are only all-decade guys from the 1970s offense not in Canton. How about Billy Howton? All he did was retire as the all-time NFL leader in catches and yards. Cant get a sniff. Your point is very, very valid.

  2. Martin Sexton
    February 18, 2017

    If the amount of energy and vitriol being used by TO supporters was used for players who REALLY have a right to complain, perhaps some of THEM would be in the HOF now. When you’ve been waiting over 30 years for something that should have already happened, then you have a complaint. It would be nice if some of these players get in before they pass away, i.e. Kenny Stabler. Two or three years doesn’t seem like a unreasonable wait. It’s not like TO will NEVER get in. He’s just going to have wait his turn. If he’s fortunate, his turn won’t take over 30 years.

  3. bachslunch
    February 18, 2017

    It’s entirely possible Brian Urlacher gets in first ballot, but I’m not betting the rent on it. Ray Lewis is almost certainly going to be first ballot, and both played middle linebacker. Plus Urlacher was the cover example for a Sports Illustrated article several years ago as one of the NFL’s most overrated players.

    Not betting the rent on Randy Moss being first ballot either. His less than strong work ethic, quitting on teams (Oakland especially) and giving less than full effort, and TO-like antics may not sit well with some of the voters. Weren’t there some voters who held it against Claude Humphrey for supposedly quitting on the Falcons late in his career?

    Could be wrong about one or both, of course, and both will certainly make it in at some point. We shall see in about a year.

    • February 19, 2017

      Believe Lewis is slam dunk. You’re right about Urlacher and Moss. Not sure on either as first-ballot for precisely reasons you cite. I see Lewis, one of two safeties (Dawkins or Lynch) and one of two OL (Boselli or Mawae). Then it’s wide open.

  4. Martin Sexton
    February 18, 2017

    I agree with your assessment. Not impossible for Urlacher to make it but I would be mildly surprised if he made it the on his first year eligible. I know people like to bring up the legal issues in Ray’s past but hard to argue with his production or his impact as a leader and teammate. Add a Super Bowl ring to the party and it makes for a compelling case. (If TO’s reputation as a leader and teammate were comparable, he probably might have made it on his first go-round.) As for Moss, he does suffer from some of the same issues as TO. However (to my knowledge) no one has complained about TO’s effort ON the field. No one would question Moss’s talent or production but when you have questions about effort, that could be a deal breaker on first ballot induction. As you have said, I could be wrong as well. Not like I have a vote.

    • February 19, 2017

      You should have a vote. You read it well. Will be the question with Moss. Urlacher iffy but because there are a couple of wide-open spots — at least — he could pull a Jason Taylor. Problem, of course, is that Lewis plays the same position. Doesn’t mean that precludes us from inducting two at once — has happened — but might compel people to put Urlacher off for a year.

  5. Martin Sexton
    February 19, 2017

    Well then, have your people get with my people and let’s make that happen.😉 One of the things that make making the HOF special is that it is not easy. If you elected everyone it wouldn’t mean near as much. The problem has been that as each new group of players becomes eligible, the ones that got passed over fell further and further from consideration. Out of sight, out of mind kind of thing. Of course, fans being fans, we only care about our favorite players and not the process that voters have to go through to make those decisions. To our way of thinking, these are no brainer conclusions and any other decision means that the voters have other agendas and just aren’t thinking clearly. I know THAT has to be shocking to you.

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