Dallas Cowboys safety Keith Davis is the luckiest man on earth or the unluckiest man on earth; or perhaps he is both. You won't find many people who have been shot in multiple body parts, on multiple occasions, and live to tell the story. This is entering 50-cent territory. Maybe Keith's autobiographical movie should be called Play Free Safety or Die Trying.
Before I go any further, let me say that I sincerely wish Keith all the best and hope for a speedy and full recovery. The human condition is capable of many things, and when that spirit is turned to good it can accomplish miraculous things. But when people succumb to the most base of actions, such as shooting other people with guns, we are reminded that we are really just part of the animal kingdom. Sometimes when I see stories like this I think the non-human animals have a leg up on us. That said, I'll move pass the philosophical ranting.
What does this mean for Keith Davis and what does it mean to the Cowboys? At this point, with the little information we have, it's impossible to say. Davis was the incumbent free safety and was probably headed into training camp as the odds-on favorite to retain the position. Now, it would be hard to say that he will be the starter come September. Unless his wounds are so superficial as to allow for a complete recovery in a very short amount of time, you figure that he will miss some time at training camp, at the very least.
The circumstances surrounding the shooting will also play a large role in what happens with Davis' football-playing future. The last time Davis was shot - it's hard to even type that sentence without shaking my head in wonder - Coach Parcells was less than pleased with the circumstances surrounding it. He had warned his players to stay away from places that could lead to trouble, and the parking lot of a strip club at 2 in the morning certainly qualifies. It wasn't long after that Parcells released Davis and made a point to the rest of the team that questionable decisions wouldn't be tolerated.
At this point in time, we have no idea what happened that led to the current shooting of Davis. All we know is that he was driving on the interstate at 5 AM with another unidentified individual. We also know that another car pulled up along side Davis' car and fired, hitting Davis in the head and thigh. Until we know the full circumstances of what Davis was doing driving at that odd hour, where he was coming from or where he was going, I won't speculate as to how any of that played into the incident.
But one has to wonder how it comes to pass that Keith Davis has been involved in two shootings within the past three years. Either it is the most unusual and cruelest of coincidences, or he has a nose for trouble. For his sake and his football future, let's hope that it is a coincidence. If it turns out to be anything other than that, I'm sure Coach Parcells will once again be forced to make a decision he would rather not.
What this means to the Cowboys is that they are very fortunate to have signed veteran Marcus Coleman in the offseason and drafted Pat Watkins. They now have options at the position, and it was no given that Davis was going to hold off Coleman for the starting position even before the latest situation. If I was to speculate, and that's always a tricky proposition, I would say that Marcus Coelman has just been thrust into the starting free safety role. Depending on Davis' condition and the progress of his recovery, Pat Watkins may be asked to play much sooner than the Cowboys were planning on. Reserve Willie Pile may also play a role in all of this.
I'll be watching - as I'm sure you will be - for more facts to come out, for news on Davis' recovery, and for statements coming out of Valley Ranch. In the meantime, I'll hope that Keith Davis has no permanent problems from the shooting and can continue playing football in the near future. I also hope that his luck changes, or his actions change - whichever may be more appropriate.
Update [2006-7-16 20:41:32 by Grizz]: This article from ESPN has some more details and the really good news is that Davis' wounds appear to be very minor and shouldn't hinder any football related activities. From the article: