No. The second exhibition game was in Tokyo, of all places. He got his chance. Tokyo! He ran the ball 11 times for 46 yards and one touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers. Even more important, he delivered a devastating hit on a Niners kick returner. It was one of those cartoon moments, the returner's legs flying into the air before he landed with a bud thump! It was a moment to make people take notice. "On that hit alone you just made the team," a veteran told the running back.
Could that be? He climbed higher on the depth chart with each exhibition. He carried the ball more and more. He was the leading rusher on the team. Yet....
On the day of the final cut he was staying in a room at the Holiday Inn near the Broncos' training complex in Englewood, a suburb of Denver. Chamberlain was in another room. The players who were being released would be called in their rooms and asked to bring their playbooks to the office. The former roommates called each other about every 20 minutes.
"Did you hear anything?"
"Stop calling. You're scaring me to death."
"You stop calling me."
No one else called. They both made the team. One week before the season opener, the running back from Georgia, the sixth-round draft pick, the 196th player chosen, was told that he would be the starter for the coming season. Nobody from nowhere. Starter.
There was no grand moment of inspiration, no lightning flash that made him change. It was more like a voice talking to him, nagging him every day. Terrell, you're screwing up. Terrell, what are you going to do with yourself? It had not hurt that his mother would yell at him when he brought home report cards studded with F's. Wasn't he better than that?
Near the end of his sophomore year he made a wise decision. He transferred from Morse High to Lincoln High. He figured he could never change perceptions at Morse. The teachers he had abused and confused would never believe that this was a new person in front of them. A new school would mean a new life.