Although Rashied Davis seemed mildly surprised by the number of reporters waiting at his locker for a postgame interview, increased media attention might be something the soft-spoken wide receiver will need to deal with during the upcoming season.
Davis made his mark against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night with two first-half touchdown catches, one a difficult 21-yard route through three defenders and the second a 7-yard reception on a slant – both from newly-ordained starting quarterback Kyle Orton.
"Really, I'm counting my total for the night at two and a half touchdowns," Davis laughed, referring to a third attempt during which the ball was caught, then dropped, later in the first half.
Davis, who came to the Bears in 2005 from the arena league San Jose SaberCats, initially was slated at play cornerback. After a switch to the wideout position two years ago, Davis has shown speed and consistency playing in all 16 games for the second consecutive year and finishing seventh on the team in 2007 with 17 catches for 165 receiving yards.
"It isn't the stats I'm out for," Davis said. "It's just doing my best every game. I don't have anything to prove to anybody. I love playing the game. I know my abilities, and I go out and try to get my job done every time I'm on the field."
Davis has the advantage of three years of work on the field with Orton, the kind of signal-caller he characterized as "consistent, steady, and talented."
"I feel comfortable with Kyle," Davis said. "We work well together."
Orton, in turn, credited Davis' talent for the duo's success.
"Rashied's a great receiver," Orton said. "He's a hard worker who is now seeing the benefits of that work. He cares about the game, and he runs a heck of a route. The job he did tonight selling the fake for the [first] touchdown was impressive. Rashied always seems to be in the right place at the right time to catch the ball. What he does on the field tends to make a positive impact on this team."
After Thursday night's standout performance, Davis would seem to be well positioned to assume a starting spot at receiver. Is that what he's been working toward?
"If that happens, then it's great," Davis said. "But there are a lot of fine players on this team at that position. I've shown what I can do, and whatever happens in that regard from this point on is not necessarily up to me. And it's not the kind of a thing I spend much time thinking about. I'm satisfied with my overall situation. Since I joined the team, I feel I've functioned well wherever they've put me. So I'll just wait and find out what happens."
As a new father, Davis now feels he has something more important for which to play.
"As I crossed the goal line for that first catch," he remembered, "my first thought was about my wife and my daughter."
Alanna Dianna Davis was born August 15, just as the Bears headed to Seattle – Davis stayed behind with his wife and newborn child.
"Look at this," he said, proudly pointing to two tiny ink-stained footprints on the front of his new orange t-shirt. "That's my girl. All 8 pounds and 13 ounces of her. I want her to look up to me, to be proud of her dad. Everything I do from now on is in her honor."
And if that includes talking to an unexpected crowd of reporters waiting by his locker after games, that's fine, too.
Beth Gorr has been covering the Chicago Bears for seven years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.
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