Healthy Davis Seeks Opportunity

In his first two seasons at Wisconsin, Anthony Davis looked like the second-coming of Tony Dorsett.<BR>

The 5-7, 200-pound Davis isn't the biggest back around, but he rolled up 3,071 yards in his first two seasons for the Badgers, including a 200-yard game in his college debut against Penn State.

But a myriad of injuries derailed his promising career causing him to go from a player who was being talked about as a possible first-round pick, to one who is now looking at a mid-round grade.

You'd think Davis would be bothered by his slippage. But that's not the case.

"I just want an opportunity to play in the NFL," Davis said. "What I do with that opportunity is up to me. Once you're there, it doesn't matter where you were drafted."

Anthony Davis missed one game each in first two seasons at Wisconsin, something that wasn't too troubling. But as a junior, he sat out nine games with injuries to both ankles. Then, he suffered a broken orbital bone in the team's season-opening victory against South Florida. Showing some toughness, he missed just three games, returning a month later and rushing for 213 yards against Illinois.

"We knew that he was a special player," Illinois head coach Ron Turner told reporters following the game. "He was able to break some big runs on us, most of them in short-yardage situations. We knew he was a great back and we had to play a really good ballgame to contain him.

"Anthony is as good as there is in the country when he's healthy. He's very quick. He has great vision, great acceleration through the hole and excellent balance. There were times we missed some tackles and when you look at the film, we did everything right. He just has great strength and was able to come out of them."

Davis played well for the next several games, but then missed Wisconsin's regular season finale against Iowa with a quadriceps injury. The Badgers lost the game and an opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl. And again, questions about Davis' durability arose.

"Teams didn't ask me much about the injuries," said Davis of his interviews at the NFL combine. "When the doctors looked at me there, there were no problems physically. Injuries are something that happen in football, in life as well. There's really not much you can do about them."

Davis said 10 or 11 teams met with him for interviews at the combine, including the Giants, Colts and Bears. One of the questions he was asked about was an altercation in 2001 when he was stabbed in the leg by a distraught girlfriend.

"They asked me about that, but it wasn't a major thing," said Davis, who has not been in any other kind of trouble.

Though he said he just wants an opportunity to play in the NFL, Davis said his ideal situation would be to be drafted by the Steelers, his favorite team growing up. Why the Steelers?

"I always liked the guys they had there, especially defensively," said Davis, who has not yet scheduled any personal visits with any teams.

"Mean Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Jack Lambert, those guys were the best. And then in the '90s, guys like Kevin Greene, Greg Lloyd and Rod Woodson. They've had a lot of great ones."

With Jerome Bettis considering retirement and Duce Staley now 30 years old, the Steelers may be in the market for a running back in the middle rounds of the draft. But would the 200-pound Davis fit into the Steelers' offense?

"I wouldn't categorize myself as an inside or outside runner," said Davis, "I can do both. I wouldn't mind going to Pittsburgh at all."

But with a few weeks remaining before the draft, like the rest of eligible players, he's playing the waiting game. It's both nerve wracking and exciting.

"Not everybody gets this opportunity," said Davis. "But at the same time, you want it to hurry up and get here so that you know where you are going to end up."

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