Former UGA running back Terrell Davis stole the show on Saturday night in Canton, Ohio as he was one of seven players in this year’s class to be officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
— NFL (@NFL) August 5, 2017
Davis joins Bulldog legends Charley Trippi (inducted in 1968) and Fran Tarkenton (inducted in 1986) who were previously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was joined at the enshrinement ceremony by several Georgia Bulldogs including former head coach and director of athletics Vince Dooley, former head football coach Ray Goff, former running back coach Willie McClendon, Executive Director of Athletics Alumni Relations Mark Slonaker, and former Bulldog teammates James Cornelius and Preston Hughes.
A native of San Diego, California, Davis first attended Long Beach State, but he transferred to UGA after his freshman season, when the school’s football program was eliminated in 1992. “TD” played for the Bulldogs for three seasons from 1992 through 1994, carrying the ball 317 times for 1,657 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also added 46 receptions for 529 yards and a further 4 touchdowns. Davis was an outstanding and talented tailback for the Bulldogs, but he could never seem to stay healthy to get through a complete season.
After the University of Georgia, the Denver Broncos’ drafted Davis in the sixth-round with pick number 196 in the 1995 NFL Draft after analysts and scouts were unsure if the Bulldog tailback would even be drafted due to injury concerns. Despite being drafted, there was no guarantee that Davis would make the team, but he impressed coaches and teammates alike during pre-season camp. By the time the opening game rolled around for the 1995 season, Davis had not only made the team but earned a start and ended up starting 14 of the Broncos 16 games that season. Terrell would rush for 1,117 yards and became the lowest-drafted running back in NFL history to gain over 1,000 yards in his rookie season.
He never looked back and may have had one of the best stretches for a running back in the NFL over a three year period. From 1996-1998, “TD” rushed for 5,296 yards and 49 touchdowns on 1,106 carries during the regular season. In 1998 alone, he is one of the few NFL running backs to eclipse the 2,000-yard barrier, becoming the fourth player to do so in the history of the league, rushing for 2,008 in 16-games. In total, only seven running backs in the history of the NFL, including Davis, are members of the 2,000-yard club. He led the league in rushing touchdowns twice (1996, 1998) and that historic 1998 season, he was the NFL’s leading rusher and voted league MVP.
During those three years, Davis would also come to be known as “TD”, making big plays in big games. He set an NFL playoff record with seven consecutive 100-yard rushing performances from 1997-1998. In eight post-season games from 1996-1998, “TD” rushed for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns on 204 carries, and he was a key cog in the Broncos winning back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1997 and 1998. In 1997’s Super Bowl XXXII after rushing for 157 yards and three TDs against the Green Bay Packers, Davis was named Super Bowl MVP.
But ’98 would be the two-time Super Bowl Champion and two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year last healthy season. Unfortunately, Davis’ career was cut short by a knee injury suffered in his fifth season in 1999. He would go on to play two more years in the league with the Broncos in 2000 and 2001. Plagued with injuries, Davis decided to retire during the 2002 pre-season.
While there is some controversy on whether or not Davis played long enough in the NFL and accomplished enough during his professional career to be considered a Hall of Famer, what “TD” did over his first four seasons speaks for itself.
Before Georgia held their sixth football practice and first scrimmage of Fall Camp on Saturday, in Head Coach Kirby Smart’s press conference that morning, here is what he had to say about his former Bulldog teammate and now Hall of Famer, Terrell Davis.
“First of all, an unbelievable class act. I can still remember my first day here. My locker was over near his and, of course, everybody thought I was a walk-on kicker when I got here, and he kind of took me under his wing and took me out to practice,” said Samrt. “My locker was right next to his, so it was a unique experience for me. Of course, at that time he was Terrell Davis, not TD or the Super Bowl MVP. He was not all that. He was always kind, one of the best smiles and one of the best in the business. He is a class act that I have always had a lot of respect for. I would run into him over time because of a lot of NFL Network events at Pro Days I have been apart of. We are just happy to have him be a Dawg. He represents Dawg Nation the right way, and what a great person he is.”