Secret Weapon

Lake Forest - Rashied Davis almost felt as if he were back with his old Arena league team, the San Jose Saber Cats, during the season finale against the Vikings. The first year cornerback had an opportunity to return kicks and play some wideout. It might not be the last time he has a chance to contribute in all three phases of the game.

Davis returned 6 kicks for 143 yards, which comes out to a respectable average of 23.8 yards per carry. Davis' longest runback was 34 yards. He also added 3 tackles and saw time on the field at wideout, which could be a possibility in the postseason.

"Seriously, he has talent, said Coach Lovie Smith. "We've seen it. We put him in that position and he does something to make us think, well, maybe he has a chance. Our numbers are down a little bit at the wide receiver position. Every thing we see over there is good. So you never know, maybe there's another Deion Sanders out there."

While happy to be given a chance to showcase his ability, Davis felt he could have done better.

"I was sick so I just wasn't out there at 100 percent, " Davis said. "I'd been diagnosed with a sinus infection the day before the game. I wanted to play and I felt that I needed to play. I knew there would be a chance for a lot of on field time against Minnesota. The only thing that bothered me was my lack of stamina. I'm sure that was due to the infection because it's never been a problem for me before."

In the Arena league, Davis was accustomed to long stretches of play with few breaks. He played primarily at receiver and handled kick returns, but earlier in his Arena career he spent a lot of time at cornerback.

"I'm a speed player but I'm also a durable player. I'm at my best when I'm running back and forth down the field," Davis said. "That really gets the adrenaline pumping. If you're not having fun out there you shouldn't be out there, that's what I've always thought. In my mind, the more playing time I have the better. I'll line up at offense, defense, and special teams for the Bears. Anything they ask me is fine. I'm here to prove I can do it all."

Kick return was thought to be a team strength heading into the season, but Jerry Azumah has struggled to break many big plays. He averaged 22.0 yards during the regular season. But Davis appears to have proved he can be a viable option. He averaged just 22.8 yards on 11 attempts, but appears to have a chance to break a big play whenever he has the ball.

"I'm happy to share the time with Jerry. He's a fine player. "Davis said," But I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'd really like to be the starter for that position. I did that job game after game in San Jose. The field may be longer here in the NFL but I feel that I can be just as effective."

A year ago, Davis never imagined that he would be preparing for a playoff run. In fact, he wasn't at all certain at that time that he would ever make it into the NFL.

"While I loved Arena ball, I always had my eye on the NFL," Davis said. "I think most of the players at that level would tell you that. Arena ball usually isn't an end to itself. If you are good enough, it's a great training ground, a place to develop skills and get some good film to show the pro scouts."

After four years in San Jose, Davis had a career year in 2005. He caught 100 passes and scored a total of 44 touchdowns. Closing in on his 26th birthday, he felt that it was his time to make a move.

"I called my agent and told him ‘We're there. Do your job,' " Davis said. "What I meant by that was that he needed to start shopping me around to some teams. I'd had a real good season in 2004 with the Saber Cats. It seemed that my chance of advancing to the NFL was as good as it would ever get."

The Bears took a look at what Davis had to offer and were immediately interested.

"I'm from LA originally so I wasn't sure about playing with a cold weather team," Davis said. "But I was so excited to get this opportunity, my hesitation lasted probably ten seconds or less. Before I knew it, I was heading to Chicago."

And to the playoffs, a position Davis never thought he'd find himself in during his first year in the league.

"I'm excited. Heck, I'm ecstatic," Davis proclaimed. "I can't wait for the first game. I'm heading home after practice today, back to California to rest and relax. I want to be well and completely ready for whichever team we go up against next weekend. This is beyond my wildest dreams. And the best part is that I think we have a legitimate chance to go all the way."

From the Arena league to the Super Bowl in one year, now that would be a story.


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