The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2014 will be enshrined on Saturday. Each day this week, the Around The League crew will pick a player who we believe is also deserving of enshrinement.
Terrell Davis' NFL career took the course of a dazzling firework: rising fast, blooming into a glittery brilliance that coaxed "ahh"s before melting into the night.
As a relatively unknown sixth-round pick, Davis burst into his teammates' consciousness with a monstrous special-teams tackle in a preseason game in Tokyo. This was his blastoff.
From there, the man fittingly known as T.D. put up an outstanding rookie campaign with 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns on just 237 carries. This was his flight.
Davis' three consecutive All-Pro seasons:
After compiling four seasons that compare to any running back to open a career, injuries caused Davis -- in a puff -- to disappear like our celebrated firework, playing just 16 games during his final three seasons.
On this final fact sits the only semblance of reason Davis does not yet own a bust in the Hall of Fame. This argument, however, is abjectly deficient, patently lazy and cracks like an iPhone screen under pressure.
Since when has the magnificence of the loud boom been subject to the standards of the long wheeze?
This is like John F. Kennedy not making it out of the presidential primary -- only if it happened seven times.
Only Davis remains on the outside. And he can't even get in the debate room!
When T.D. eventually does get into that room, his resume will hold more than four fantastic seasons, two Super Bowl trophies and those MVP awards.
The football world often harps that postseason is where the best brandish their greatness. Davis is inarguably one of the greatest postseason running backs in NFL history.
Davis has the highest career playoff rushing average at 5.59 yards per attempt -- he averaged 142.5 yards per playoff game -- and ranks fifth in most career postseason touchdowns (12), in far fewer games than his colleagues, all of whom are in the Hall.
In an age in which we admit the physicality of the NFL takes its toll and injuries can slice a man's career in two, we should be smarter than dismissing Davis' career because it ended abruptly. In every other way, his accomplishments hold up.
It's not called the Hall of Longevity. It's not called the Hall of Cumulative Stats. It's called the Hall of Fame. And for that brief, shimmering period, Terrell Davis lit up NFL skies as much as anyone with a bust.