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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
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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

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"Maybe I'd have been a first-round draft choice if he'd lived," Terrell says. "Maybe I wouldn't have played football. I don't know. Something would have been different. I think about hating my father when he'd be beating on us, but you know what? That pain goes away. The impressions are what remain. Those are what form you. Maybe that's not a bad thing."

Joe Davis was buried on his 42nd birthday. Terrell was 14.

The running back from Georgia had a roommate at his first training camp, in Greeley, Colo. The roommate was another nobody from nowhere, Byron Chamberlain, a tight end who had gone to Wayne State. He had been drafted even lower, in the seventh round.

The two nobodies from nowhere would talk at night about their day, about their hopes, about their worries, about their lives. Were they getting a real chance? Or were they simply living and breathing tackling dummies for the veterans? They couldn't tell.

"You know, you look a little familiar to me," the running back from Georgia said early in their conversations. "Where are you from?"

"Fort Worth, Texas," Chamberlain said. "But you look familiar to me, too. Where are you from?"

"San Diego."

"I lived in San Diego until my parents moved to Fort Worth when I started high school."

It was eerie. The two guys at the bottom of the Broncos' depth chart knew a lot of the same people, had played in the same public park and the same Pop Warner program. Chamberlain had an uncle who lived two doors away—two doors!—from the house on Latimer Street.

"We used to go over to the potato chip factory," Chamberlain said. "They'd throw out these perfectly good bags of potato chips. We'd get 'em....

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