Every week, make that every day we get to glimpse Andra Davis is a pleasure.
The Owl has spent a good chunk of his life in locker rooms over the past three decades. Few athletes measure up to Davis when it comes to a combination of ability and humility.
Just yesterday Davis was selected as the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for making 14 tackles in the Browns' 22-0 victory over the Dolphins. He leads the team with 135 tackles, is tied for the team lead with seven quarterback pressures and is third with two sacks for 22 yards. He has been in double figures in tackles in nine of 10 games.
His reaction to winning the ward was predictable, and while many athletes say the same thing, they are obviously more than just words to Davis.
"It's an honor to get the award, but winning the game means more," Davis said. "Obviously my teammates and the coaches are a big part of it."
Davis receives a plaque acknowledging the award. He plans to hang it in his home and show it to his children when they're old enough to understand what it means.
Last week Browns general manager Phil Savage said he is placing a priority on working out contract extensions for Davis and Orpheus Roye before the season ends. Davis wants Savage to know that in his mind Jan. 1, the date of the final regular season game, is not a deadline for getting a new contract.
"I definitely want to be here. I love it here," Davis said. "I've been through the rough times. I definitely want to be here when we turn it around.
"There's more trust now than there used to be. People are straight up with you. Romeo is a great coach - not just him but I'm soaking up everything I can from him and all the other coaches. I'm having a great time. I wish we were winning more, but in time that will come."
Davis is a team leader on the field and in the locker room and a solid family man - that is evident by the pictures in his locker and the tattoos in his arm. His teammates voted him defensive captain.
Savage wants key players signed before the season ends because he says once they get a whiff of free agency they won't be so eager to return. There is also a practical reason to sign the players now. The Browns would be able to count a portion of the signing bonus on the 2005 salary cap.
Davis said if a contract gets done in the next six weeks, fine, but he has no plans to bolt if it doesn't.
"It's not important at all it gets before the season ends," Davis said. "I just want to play football now. If it gets done before it ends I'll be happy, if it gets done after the season I'll still be happy. I'm not issuing any ultimatums. That's not me."
Davis was a fifth-round draft choice in 2002. He is making $1.43 million this season.
Are there middle linebackers with more ability? Sure, but they might not be available. And even if some other player was quicker, the Browns would have to think hard about changing middle linebackers.
At the same time, Davis has to understand there is a limit as to how much the Browns can spend. They will be more than $25 million under the salary cap in 2006. Sometimes an agent sees that and gets the idea his client deserves it all.
Davis is a team man first and has said repeatedly he is not motivated by money. There is no reason to disbelieve him. He and the team should be able to come to an agreement that works for everybody.