ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Todd Davis has grown accustomed to following fellow inside linebacker Brandon Marshall’s lead.
Like Marshall, Davis has excelled in Denver after getting cut multiple times by another NFL team.
Like Marshall, Davis is the team’s Ed Block Courage Award recipient, winning it this year, two years after Marshall.
Like Marshall, Davis is positioned to cash in on free agency, too.
“I’m definitely rooting for him. I know he will,” Marshall said. “It just depends on where and how much.”
Marshall, the Broncos’ 2015 Ed Block recipient, signed a four-year, $32,000 deal as a restricted free agent before last season.
Davis is heading to unrestricted free agency this offseason.
Although the players are expecting massive roster turnover following their second straight season without a playoff berth, Marshall is pulling for Davis to stay in Denver.
The two have developed a great chemistry together. Marshall leads the team in tackles this year with 101 and Davis is second with 78 despite missing two games with injuries.
“I hope he stays, but it’s a tough league,” Marshall said. “We’ve been losing, so that makes it even tougher. So, we’ll see what happens.”
Added Davis: “I love Denver, we’ll see how everything goes.”
While players would rather be high draft picks than afterthoughts, Marshall said it means more to sign a lucrative second contract than a big rookie deal because those are based on potential instead of performance.
“Yeah, on what we’ve done,” Marshall said. “Absolutely, we’ve proven ourselves and they pay us as such. So, it’s definitely better to happen in your second contract that your first.”
Davis was cut several times by the New Orleans Saints before coming to Denver, just like Marshall was cut many times by the Jacksonville Jaguars before making a name for himself with the Broncos.
“I think that’s one of the things that bonds us together so close,” Davis said. “I think that his story is very similar to mine and we definitely both know what it means to be sitting at home or unsure of your football future. I think that’s why we work so hard together and work so well together, it’s because we really understand each other.”
Marshall concurs, saying, “Absolutely, we have things in common and that definitely helps. Todd’s a hard-working guy, he’s tough. He exhibits everything that an Ed Block Courage award winner would exhibit.”
Marshall was drafted in the fifth round out of Nevada in 2012 but still had to make his way up from the practice squads in Jacksonville and Denver.
Davis went undrafted out of Sacramento State and joined the Saints in June of 2014. Five months later, the Broncos claimed him off waivers from New Orleans and he played in six games for Denver down the stretch. He played in all 16 games the next two years and led the team in tackles last year.
“It’s been an amazing journey and I really feel blessed to be here,” Davis said. “I think one of my biggest defining moments was being cut four or five times and then finally making it on a squad. I made a promise to myself that I would never be cut again. I never wanted to go back there, it was tough times. I’ve just been blessed and now I’m here.”
That perseverance and determination shows in his play, coach Vance Joseph said.
“Todd is special. Todd is one of our best leaders,” Joseph said. “Todd plays with injuries. Todd never complains. Todd is the same guy every day. Todd is an example of being a great pro.
“Through the good times and through the bad times, Todd has never changed. His work ethic has never changed. If it’s a walkthrough, Todd is full speed. Todd is what I want all of our guys to aspire to be.”
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
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