It took Terrell Davis until his 11th year of eligibility to get into the Hall of Fame. Broncos fans also believe team owner Pat Bowlen has waited too long.
To that end, Davis used part of his 27-minute induction speech to campaign for Bowlen’s induction next year.
“Now, Mr. B is at home right now fighting a courageous battle against Alzheimer’s,” Davis said. “A few weeks from now, the Hall of Fame selection committee will be voting on a contributor category. Let’s make sure that this champion is enshrined in 2018.”
Davis, the Broncos’ all-time leading rusher with 7,607 yards, played only seven seasons. That’s why his wait was longer than he, the Broncos and Broncos fans wanted.
While Davis was grateful he finally got the call, it was merely another hurdle in his life. He recalled suffering from migraine headaches for most of his life, but what changed his life was “staring down the barrel of a shotgun.”
Football provided Davis way out.
Davis thanked all those who helped him get where he is, but saved his parents for last. He credited them for getting him where he stood Saturday night.
“I don’t know how you did it, mom,” Davis said. “You clothed us; you fed us; and you never left anybody behind. You taught me responsibility to always give back. Mom, you are the embodiment of unconditional love, and I love you very much.
“To my other hero, my father: Although my dad didn’t use the words I love you often, through his tough love and discipline I knew he did. I knew I never wanted to live the life he lived as he grew up on a tough side of St. Louis and more than once he’d been shot or stabbed. But the reason I ascribe the word hero to him is that he always did the very best he knew how to prepare us for his version of life as a black man in America, and his version was harsh. When I was 12, my father became ill and until he went to the hospital, I didn’t know how sick he was. He was the original iron man. It didn’t matter how many times he’d been sick or hurt, he’d always bounce back. But not this time. My father died of lupus when he was 41, and obviously my dad never saw me play in the National Football League. Until this day, I’d think about him and wonder, did I gain his respect? Dad, I hope you’re looking down, smiling and uttering the words, ‘Son, I’m proud of you.’
“Pops taught us toughness and wisdom. My mother taught us courage and dedication. The earnest dedication of both my parents is why I humbly stand before you.”