"He got me moved to fullback," Reggie says. "That was when I thought he might be really good. I was the tailback and taking it easy, not worrying about anything. I thought I had it made. Terrell beat me out."
At the end of the season Long Beach dropped football. Reggie's eligibility was up anyway; he was off to an NFL combine, where a balky knee would end his tryout and force him into football retirement. Terrell at first thought he would transfer to UCLA, but he was dazzled by a recruiting trip to Georgia.
Years later he would be asked a lot of questions about his time at Georgia, about why he never became a star, why NFL scouts never noticed him. Terrell sat for a while behind Garrison Hearst, an All-America. He feuded for a longer while with Ray Goff, the coach. He never had the chance, really, to put up the kind of numbers that get the scouts' attention.
There was no question about his lowest moment at Georgia. It was a phone call. Jamaul Pennington was back in San Diego after four years in the Navy. Terrell had asked him to come to Georgia, to live with him his senior year. Jamaul, who had an apprenticeship with an electrician, politely refused. He stayed in San Diego and was shot one night in an argument over gambling. Kateree sat in the same waiting room in the same hospital where Joe Davis had died. She received the same sad news. She called her son, the youngest of her boys.
He came home for the funeral.
The running back from Georgia still wonders sometimes how he landed where he has landed. MVP of the Super Bowl. The big contract. A spot on David Letterman. He was just trying to make the team....
Why him? He is like the holder of a winning lottery ticket. No, no, more than that. He is like the survivor of some awful crash, the last one standing. Why him? He carries so much in his heart, in his head.
He thinks, perhaps, he is the end product, the final result, of all the people in his life. He is tough like his father, tenacious and energetic like his mother. He has learned his lessons from the lives of his brothers. He did not go into the service like Joe Jr. and James. He did not become a father early like Reggie. He did not blow off high school like Terry. He did not fall to the streets like Bobby. He got away from San Diego, unlike Jamaul....
He is the beneficiary of time and place, of circumstance. What if he had been born earlier in the chain of brothers? He does not think he would be where he is. He thinks he would have fallen. Maybe one of his brothers would be in his place. Maybe someone else. Why him?
"I think it is fate" he says.