SI Vault
 
Mama's Boy
Leigh Montville
September 28, 1998
Growing up with five older brothers and an ex-con father made TERRELL DAVIS tough. But it took a remarkable mother to give him the strength to transform himself from aimless delinquent to Super Bowl MVP
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 28, 1998

Mama's Boy

Growing up with five older brothers and an ex-con father made TERRELL DAVIS tough. But it took a remarkable mother to give him the strength to transform himself from aimless delinquent to Super Bowl MVP

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Everybody has to come from somewhere.

The family gathers on a night at the end of August at Del Frisco's Double-Eagle Steakhouse in Greenwood Village, on the outskirts of Denver. The occasion is a publishing party. Terrell has written his autobiography with the help of Denver Post beat writer Adam Schefter. The book is titled T.D.: Dreams in Motion. All the brothers are at the party except James, who is a schoolteacher in San Francisco. Kateree is there.

She lives in Aurora, Colo., now, around the corner from her famous son. He wasn't so hot on the idea at first—NFL star's mom comes to NFL star's neighborhood—but he has learned to enjoy the benefits. NFL stars need to eat. NFL stars need clean clothes. He bought his mother a house. There Kateree, now 49, is raising a second family: two kids fathered by Joe Jr. and two more she has adopted. Their ages range from five to seven.

"It's not so bad," Kateree says. "Fifteen years and it'll be done. Fifteen years isn't such a long time."

Terry and Bobby also live in the area. Bobby is out of jail on parole. Terrell is planning to start some kind of business with his $11 million signing bonus and give Bobby a better job. Joe Jr. and Reggie live in the old house on Latimer Street. Reggie says it seems quiet.

All of them were in San Diego in January for the Broncos' 31-24 win over the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. Kateree says she was almost overcome by the noise, the lights, the emotion. Everybody in the family goes to as many home games as possible at Mile High Stadium, where half the crowd seems to wear number 30 jerseys with DAVIS on the back. "It's like Terrell is living out my dream," Reggie says. "I'm just happy to ride along on the edge of it."

The book is only the latest bit of craziness in Terrell's life. He sits behind a table in a trim black suit and signs books from a pile beside him. The line of buyers stretches out of the room. Kateree watches Terrell from another table, in the corner. The little kids tug at her skirt and ask, "Can we have a Diet Coke, canwe, canwe?"

"I think he likes it that I'm here in Denver," Kateree says softly. "He called me the other night. He was all concerned. Some kids were walking around his lawn. They'd found out where he lived. He wanted me to come over and get them out of there. I said maybe he should call the police. He said, 'I'm calling you.' "

The baby of the family is still her baby.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11