Again, we turn to an old friend.
Now that the injury bug has bit our safety position, Davis will more than likely start Sunday against the Bengals. Roy Williams is out. Patrick Watkins is more than likely out. This leaves us with the familiar face Keith Davis, who's well-known weaknesses in coverage are often juxtaposed with his brilliance on special teams, passion and vicious hitting ability. Courtney Brown will continue working on substitution packages but it will be Davis taking Watkins' spot in the standard defense. Davis' story is a weird, interesting, baffling, yet uplifting one.
Davis is from small-town America. He starred at Italy (Texas) High School and eventually went to Sam Houston State where he terrorized the Southland Conference. He signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He won a World Bowl playing in NFL Europa. The following year he got shot while picking up a friend from a topless bar. Parcells response? You're fired.
Typical Parcells tough love. But I get the feeling Bill Parcells took a liking to him. No one lasts that long with him without it. I also imagine he became somewhat of a whipping boy for him. But he could take it and he would deliver. After his release in 2003, he would re-sign with the team the following year. He would quickly distinguish himself and record more than 100 special teams tackles in five years. In 2005, he'd start 15 games at free safety.
In 2006, he'd get shot again. Insert your own 50 Cent joke here. Only Parcells wasn't laughing. But, eventually, after much skepticism, it endeared him to us. Not only was he hard-hitting and a special teams demon but he was human target practice. The gravity of the situation was alleviated by the hilarity of it.
But there were problems on-the-field too. We all know Davis can hit. Shoot him and Roy would de-cleat opponents at will. But sometimes they couldn't cover my grandma in a phone booth. We all knew that. He'd overpursue at times and miss tackles. Sometimes he'd be so reckless he'd knock other defenders out of the play. So here comes Ken Hamlin. So then we draft Watkins and Brown. Davis could see the writing on the wall.
Then the opportunity came. Parcells left and went to Miami. The exodus of former players followed him. Parcells beckoned and Davis came running to a tune of $3.5 million. Maybe he'd have a chance to start.
But you could tell Davis would miss Dallas.
"I've been a Cowboy my whole life. That's the only team I've ever known until today," said Davis, who had spent his entire five-year career in Dallas. "I grew up there, my family is there, I have a lot of friends, a lot of people.
We would miss him too JJT predicted and he was right. Our special team were atrocious in the preseason and everybody knew it. But at the same time, on the other side of the country, the stars were aligning to bring Killer back.
In a move that still stinks to high heaven, Davis was released by the Dolphins. This is weird on so many levels because the team was on their way to play New Orleans and he was on the flight manifest list and he was even assigned a room number. Nevertheless, the Killer didn't last long in Miami. He says he asked to be released. I'd like to think it was because he wanted to come back to play for the Cowboys. He re-signed with the Boys days later.
So it's come full circle. The kid from a small town is back in the place he's always wanted to be. He's been cut, re-signed, signed to a good-sized contract and cut again. He's played in the D-leagues and the majors. He's been a specialty player, a starter and now he does both. He's been a welcome addition to the team and he's seen the team desperately try to upgrade his position. He's gone from longshot to backup to starter to back to backup.
Well we need him now. On special teams and in the secondary. Dual roles.
I'll let JJT explain why.
Davis doesn't have the most athletic ability. He's not the biggest or the fastest or the strongest. He bites too much on play-action passes, and he gambles too much.
But he plays the game with a passion that can't be duplicated, he works hard, and most important, he plays the game with no fear.
He doesn't believe he can be blocked. He doesn't believe he can be stopped on kick coverage.
He believes he's the biggest, baddest junkyard dog on the field – and it doesn't matter if everyone else thinks he's crazy.
Go get 'em Killer.