T.D. calls it quits
Chronic knee problems force Broncos' Davis to retirePosted: Saturday August 17, 2002 11:49 PM
Updated: Sunday August 18, 2002 11:17 PM
DENVER (AP) -- Injury-plagued running back Terrell Davis has decided to retire after seven seasons rather than go through another round of rehabilitation, his agent said Saturday night.
Agent Neil Schwartz said doctors told the 29-year-old Davis they could not guarantee that his latest ailment -- a degenerative condition in his left knee -- would get better. Schwartz also said Davis wanted to be able to end his career in Denver on his own terms.
Davis will be placed on injured reserve Tuesday, allowing fans to see him in uniform one last time Monday night, when the Denver Broncos face the San Francisco 49ers.
"Terrell is at peace with himself. He knows that he did everything that he possibly could to play again, but that his knee just would not cooperate," Schwartz said. "There were no guarantees that his knee would get better with treatment, and he wanted to be able to go out on his own terms."
Schwartz said Davis met with Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan on Saturday to discuss his future for the first time since experiencing swelling in his left knee last Saturday. He said Shanahan talked about putting Davis on injured reserve Sunday, but Davis wanted to wait until Tuesday, so he could walk out of the tunnel one final time.
"He wanted to acknowledge the fans of Denver and basically say 'Thank you,'" Schwartz said. "It means a great deal for him to walk out of the tunnel at Mile High one last time. He would shake the hands of all 75,000 people there if he could."
Davis finished his career with 7,607 yards on 1,655 carries and 60 touchdowns. He holds or shares 56 teams records -- 21 in the postseason -- including most rushing yards, total yards from scrimmage and rushing touchdowns.
"It's tough, man, don't get me wrong," Davis told The Denver Post on Saturday. "It's tough because I know I still have a lot of football in me. But I know that my body is not going to allow me to perform at the level I want to play. Unless some new technology comes along real soon, there's a good chance I'll never see the field again."
"It's the hardest decision I had to make, but obviously the decision was made for me. My body made it," he told the Rocky Mountain News.
Davis, the last NFL player to gain at least 2,000 yards, was one of the most dominant running back of the 1990s: He ran for 6,413 yards over his first four years in the league, the second-most in history over that span.
He had 2,008 yards during his stellar 1998 season, joining O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson and Barry Sanders as the only players to reach that milestone. The previous season, Davis was chosen the Super Bowl MVP, as the Broncos won their first Super Bowl by defeating Green Bay 31-24.
That was Davis' last full season in the NFL, however. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the fourth game of the 1999 season, and he has been beset by injuries ever since.
He played just five games in 2000 due to a stress fracture in his lower leg, and he was limited to eight games because of a knee injury last season. He rushed for 1,194 yards over his last three seasons -- 814 fewer than he had in 1998.
Davis had surgery on his left knee for the second time in six months in May, but he was back on the field for a minicamp just three weeks later. He appeared to be pain-free in the first two weeks of training camp but pulled himself from the Broncos' preseason opener against Chicago last Saturday after experiencing pain and swelling in his left knee.
An MRI exam on Sunday revealed an arthritic condition in his left knee, and he received a two injections on Monday to reduce the swelling and lubricate the knee joint.
Davis said he was feeling better on Tuesday, and that he hoped to practice again by the end of the week, but he made little progress over the next four days.
"At some point, you just have to be real honest with yourself
about what's going on," Davis told the Denver Post. "It's not
something that you can just rehab and expect it to be better.
Chances are it's going to keep on doing what it's been doing. These
are just the cards I've been dealt."