DENVER, Colo.- It was a night filled with emotion, as Terrell Davis made the final stroll of his career through the tunnel at Invesco Field, smiled that ever-familiar smile and gave the city of Denver, and a nation-wide television audience one final Mile High Salute.
A salute that will be remembered almost as vividly as those that preceded it, each and every time the former sixth round draft pick found the end zone, which in Davis' case, was exactly sixty-five times.
In fact, it was Davis who initially adopted the proud yet respectful post touchdown celebration, a far cry from the flamboyant, and often comical gyrations performed by other teams throughout the league.
But then again, that's Terrell, proud yet respectful.
"There are so many things going through my head," said Davis. "My emotions went from sad to excited to sad again. It is what I expected. Denver is my home, and it was good to show the fans what it meant for me to be here."
"When I put the uniform on before the game, it was almost like I was getting ready to go play. I had to remind myself that I wasn't going to play. It was a little difficult."
It was a little difficult for the fans too, many of whom waved home made banners displaying their feelings for the man who single-handedly destroyed every rushing record the Broncos franchise had ever known.
To date Davis holds or shares fifty-six franchise records. All accomplished within the span of seven short years, or as it boils down to, exactly 78 games. In other words, Davis set a new record on the average of every 1.4 games.
Not too bad for an unknown running back out of Georgia, who's main objective in 1995 was just to survive the final cutdown.
Not only did Davis survive the cutdown, he made the team.
Terrell Davis "made" the team, in ways we're only now beginning to realize.
Without Davis there is no back to back. Without Davis there are no records, no notoriety. Without Davis, they are simply the Broncos, runners up to the best in the National Football League.
"We got two Super Bowl rings because of Terrell Davis," good friend and teammate Shannon Sharpe said, ever mindful of the teams' success during the pre-Davis era.
Proud yet respectful, there will never be another TD.
And for that Terrell, we salute you.
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