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83-Steelers-43
09-12-2006, 08:27 AM
Davenport hoping to play sizable role
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Najeh Davenport, as halfbacks go, is as big as a bus, and that is a role the Steelers would like him to fill.

They won't ask him to run for 10,571 yards over the next decade, or have his own television show and become one of the most popular players in team history. They would settle for some production at the goal line and some relief carries in the second half for starter Willie Parker.

They also would not mind if his last game is played in his hometown, just the way it was for Jerome Bettis in February. Davenport grew up in South Florida, home of Super Bowl XLI.

"I think they brought me in to exemplify some of the things they've been missing that the Bus brought," said Davenport, who is 6 feet 1 and weighs 247 pounds before lunch.

The Steelers thought they had that in Duce Staley, one reason they made no moves to fill the spot of the retired Bettis. But when the coaches saw Staley in training camp display little of the leg pop he had two years ago, a mini-panic set in.

The Steelers traded for undrafted rookie halfback Patrick Cobbs Sept. 1 from New England, then cut him a week later, which means they owe nothing to the Patriots because of the conditions of the deal.

The Steelers on Friday signed Davenport, who came to town Thursday, after his agent also fielded calls from the Dolphins and Cowboys. A big, hard-running back, Green Bay released him last week, believing his history of injuries would continue because of his upright style of running that makes for an easy target. Coincidentally, the Packers kept on their roster halfback Noah Herron, who was drafted by the Steelers last year and put on their practice squad.

"I'm ecstatic about the opportunity to come to a great facility, a great organization," Davenport said. "You have a big back like I am. They've been known for their big backs the last five, 10 years."

And more. The Steelers ran more often than any other team each of the past two seasons.

"I have the jitters, man," Davenport said. "This is what I do."

Davenport could dress for the Steelers' game Monday night in Jacksonville.

"That's the plan," he said. "I came and met with them this morning and probably will meet tomorrow and go from there. I have a quick grasp of stuff."

He also has a long history of injuries. He played 39 games in four years for Green Bay with 1,068 yards rushing and a healthy 4.9-yard average per carry. His right ankle was broken in the fifth game last season and required surgery, ending the year for him. It happened in the second quarter against New Orleans after Davenport already had rushed 12 times for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

Bouts with hamstring and shoulder injuries kept him out of five games in 2004, his best season with 359 yards rushing, including 178 yards against the Rams. He also had surgery on his right knee and broke his right foot.

"I run hard and I play hard. You're going to get hurt," said Davenport, a fourth-round pick in 2002 from Miami, where he was captain of the '01 national champions. "You can't say a guy's injury prone because he gets a nick here or a nick there. I run hard. This is a contact sport, a violent contact sport and ... you're going to get nicks and bruises. Unfortunately I got a couple of them."

He also gained a bit of infamy when he allegedly defecated in the closet of a Barry University woman's dorm room on April 1, 2002, in Miami. Charges of burglary and criminal mischief were dropped in exchange for community service. Davenport yesterday maintained his innocence and said he wished he would have gone to court to prove it.

The Steelers, who signed Davenport, 27, to a one-year contract, aren't looking for him to stay healthy for the next five years. They need someone to take some carries off Parker, who lugged the ball a career-high 29 times in Thursday's season opener against Miami.

Davenport knows the role. He was never the feature back in Green Bay; that went to Ahman Green. He was the change of pace, something he hopes he can provide the Steelers.

"Right now I'm a role player," Davenport said. "Whatever they want me to do -- fullback, running back, special teams. I'm just happy, ecstatic to be on the field."

NOTE -- Running back Patrick Cobbs, waived by the Steelers Friday, cleared waivers yesterday but turned down a chance to sign with their practice squad and is expected to sign with another team's practice squad. ... Steelers players, given the past three days off, return to work today. They will attend meetings but will not practice until tomorrow.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06255/721107-66.stm

SteelersFire
09-12-2006, 11:10 AM
I think Davenport will do well for us. As long as we keep him out of any closets :toofunny::toofunny:

As far as being injury prone, I don't see it. If missing 5 games in 2004 and a broken ankle last year means the guy's jinxed, then we'd best not look too close at Ben (or half the other guys in the NFL either). They play hard. They get hurt. S*** happens

SteelerFanInCA
09-12-2006, 11:23 AM
Like someone already said the injuries do not appear to be of chronic nature. He will be fine. I believe this was a hugh pick up on our part and should work out for us very well.

X-Terminator
09-12-2006, 11:23 AM
As far as being injury prone, I don't see it. If missing 5 games in 2004 and a broken ankle last year means the guy's jinxed, then we'd best not look too close at Ben (or half the other guys in the NFL either). They play hard. They get hurt. S*** happens

Um, he also missed the final 8 games of the 2002 season with an eye injury. Out of 64 possible regular season games, he has missed 25 of them due to injury, which is more than a third of the games. I'd say that makes him injury-prone in my book.

HometownGal
09-12-2006, 11:27 AM
I think Davenport will do well for us. As long as we keep him out of any closets :toofunny::toofunny:

As far as being injury prone, I don't see it. If missing 5 games in 2004 and a broken ankle last year means the guy's jinxed, then we'd best not look too close at Ben (or half the other guys in the NFL either). They play hard. They get hurt. S*** happens

I didn't say he was jinxed...(lol) :smile: However, I do feel that missing 16 games out of 32 is something to keep an eye on. We already have one injury prone RB in Duce. I have no doubt he will be fine here filling in behind Willie and possibly being the 3rd down back. I'm ecstatic about his signing and I have made no secret about that here. :cool:

SteelerFanInCA
09-12-2006, 11:28 AM
Um, he also missed the final 8 games of the 2002 season with an eye injury. Out of 80 possible games, he has missed 25 of them due to injury, a little less than a third of the games. I'd say that makes him injury-prone in my book.

I wouldn't put the title of "injury prone" on him just because of that eye injury. That was pretty much a freak accident. How many times in the league have you heard of guys having repeating eye injuries? That could have happened to anybody.

HometownGal
09-12-2006, 11:31 AM
I wouldn't put the title of "injury prone" on him just because of that eye injury. That was pretty much a freak accident. How many times in the league have you heard of guys having repeating eye injuries? That could have happened to anybody.

I don't believe XT is talking about just the eye injury. SFInCA. He's going into his 4th season in the NFL and he's missed games in each of the prior 3 seasons due to injury. Hopefully his bad luck will turn to good being in the black and gold. :cool:

X-Terminator
09-12-2006, 11:34 AM
I don't believe XT is talking about just the eye injury. SFInCA. He's going into his 4th season in the NFL and he's missed games in each of the prior 3 seasons due to injury. Hopefully his bad luck will turn to good being in the black and gold. :cool:

Exactly. When you miss more than a third of your team's games due to injury, IMO it should raise questions of your durability. I still like the signing and believe he gives the Steelers the dimension they didn't have going into the season, but his injury history can't be overlooked.

SteelerFanInCA
09-12-2006, 11:36 AM
I don't believe XT is talking about just the eye injury. SFInCA. He's going into his 4th season in the NFL and he's missed games in each of the prior 3 seasons due to injury. Hopefully his bad luck will turn to good being in the black and gold. :cool:

Yeah, I see where XT is coming from but I still think we shouldn't worry about the injuries too much. I guess I'm just trying to be optimistic and give this guy a fresh chance. :smile:

SteelerFanInCA
09-12-2006, 11:39 AM
Exactly. When you miss nearly a third of your team's games due to injury, IMO it should raise questions of your durability. I still like the signing and believe he gives the Steelers the dimension they didn't have going into the season, but his injury history can't be overlooked.

Hopefully it's a thing of the past. Based on what he is saying, it sounds like he plays balls out. He understands the physical nature of the game. One thing he has going for him now is that he gets to run behind our "O" Line now. Here's to hoping he stays healthy. :cheers:

HometownGal
09-12-2006, 11:42 AM
Yeah, I see where XT is coming from but I still think we shouldn't worry about the injuries too much. I guess I'm just trying to be optimistic and give this guy a fresh chance. :smile:

I'm being optimistic, as well, but I am a little concerned about his history, that's all. I think Najeh will definitely be a big plus to the offense and gives the Steelers even more versatility and diversity than they already have. I'm really looking forward to seeing him in action with a GOOD OL in front of him for a change! :bouncy:

SteelersFire
09-12-2006, 02:05 PM
I don't believe XT is talking about just the eye injury. SFInCA. He's going into his 4th season in the NFL and he's missed games in each of the prior 3 seasons due to injury. Hopefully his bad luck will turn to good being in the black and gold. :cool:

I can't think of a lot of key players that don't miss a couple of games every season because of injuries. I'll run with SteelerFanInCA on the eye injury being a freak thing even while it makes his overall game time look bad.

And yeah, I'll choose to believe odds are with us that the man's got to have one solid healthy season out of four now that he's wearing black and gold :bouncy:

19ward86
09-12-2006, 02:07 PM
i dont think he will be used as much after seeing the phins game. he might get 75 carries this season, but i dont think he will get 100 or more like bettis did, parker is taking the role of an every down back next season so that means he will be getting used to carrying the load but getting 15-25 carries a game then next season he will get 30 or more every game.

austin-charles
09-12-2006, 06:43 PM
he likes to poop on other peoples stuff...thats great!

click here (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nfl&id=1893152)

Steelknife
09-12-2006, 06:45 PM
Austin Charles should root for the Oakland Faiders
Because his opinions are the opinions of Haters

La

Midnightwriter07
09-12-2006, 07:13 PM
I think the risk ( league minimum ) far outways all of the that ... he gets hurt, then no biggie

klick81
09-14-2006, 01:35 AM
Who knows, maybe now that The Bus is gone, Davenport will make himself a new name with us as "The Dump Truck".

:sofunny: :sofunny: :sofunny:

davidgrenier
09-14-2006, 09:57 AM
Who knows, maybe now that The Bus is gone, Davenport will make himself a new name with us as "The Dump Truck".

klick - that's freakin' priceless.

Blitzburgh
09-14-2006, 10:38 AM
The "DUMP TRUCK" will be wearing #44 and will be unveiled against the Jags this week.

Haiku_Dirtt
09-14-2006, 11:19 AM
WHo in the hell really knows? When you are rolling the dice all you can do is hope lady luck is on your side. We have nothing to lose.

83-Steelers-43
09-14-2006, 11:34 AM
Davenport gets a quick lesson
Thursday, September 14, 2006
By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com

Running back Najeh Davenport took part in his first practice with the Steelers on Wednesday and got a crash course on the game plan and terminology so that he will be ready to play on Monday night against the Jaguars if needed.

"That's the plan," said Davenport, of the possibility of playing on Monday. "It's going to take some learning, but right now they are teaching me the game plan and we will go from there.

"The terminology is the only thing. Once you get the terminology down you can go in and out of a system. We did some things in Green Bay they do here. It's just the terminology. "

Davenport signed with the Steelers last Friday after missing most of last season with an ankle injury. He played four seasons with the Green Bay Packers and brings a lot of versatility and experience to the backfield.

"We will see what he is able to pick up and how comfortable he is," said head coach Bill Cowher. "I think he is a proven big back and I think we are looking for that.

"I have watched him run; I think he fits what we are looking for. He is a young guy. He could also play some in the kicking game. He has played third down, he has played fullback. I think he gives you a lot of versatility. I think he is the one guy that was out there that fits what we were looking for at this point, with the makeup of our roster."

His size is definitely an advantage. The Steelers have the speedster in Willie Parker, but are looking for someone who can bring more of a physical aspect to the backfield.

"I am a big back," said Davenport, who is 6-1, 247 pounds. "I have halfback skills and a fullback body. There aren't too many people like that. This is a great opportunity for me."

Davenport is not certain what role he will play on the team, but he is willing to do whatever is asked of him.

"My role is whatever you need me to do, I am going to do it, special teams, what have you," said Davenport. "Whatever they need me to do. Whenever they want to give me the ball and take some carries, I will gladly take them. I'm just happy, ecstatic to be on the field."

http://media3.steelers.com/article/69287/

Blitzburgh
09-14-2006, 11:56 AM
"I have halfback skills and a fullback body. There aren't too many people like that."


He is absolutely 100% correct.


Let'eth the DUMP TRUCK roll!


The DUMP TRUCK, the solid #2 the Steelers were looking for! :poop:

83-Steelers-43
09-14-2006, 12:02 PM
I'm anxious to see him play Monday night and what he has to bring to the table.

lamberts-lost-tooth
09-14-2006, 12:09 PM
I am not saying the players are comparable at this point other than their obvious size...but the situation that brought Bettis and Davenport to our team is similar.

For those of us who can remember...St Louis was convinced that Bettis was done after an injury caused him to have diminished production, and traded him to us for a song.... and now Green bay has lost faith in Davenport because of injuries and we get him for nothing.

Both players had proven to be productive in the past...Bettis proved himself as a starter by rushing for over 1,400 yds his rookie year ...Davenport gained 178 yds in a game when given a starting role.

To crystalize my thinking.....I have more faith in our front offices ability to evaluate Davenport, than I have in Green Bays Front office ability to do the same.

Midnightwriter07
09-14-2006, 08:12 PM
I think is cool.. but will only be his first game with us and wont be used much... i dont expect him to contribute alot until maybe after the bye week. that will give him a good 3 weeks to get more time in and be more involved with the offense... He will get an opportunity to get a few short plays in will be about it.

jimq
09-16-2006, 06:22 PM
I am not saying the players are comparable at this point other than their obvious size...but the situation that brought Bettis and Davenport to our team is similar.

For those of us who can remember...St Louis was convinced that Bettis was done after an injury caused him to have diminished production, and traded him to us for a song.... and now Green bay has lost faith in Davenport because of injuries and we get him for nothing.

Both players had proven to be productive in the past...Bettis proved himself as a starter by rushing for over 1,400 yds his rookie year ...Davenport gained 178 yds in a game when given a starting role.

To crystalize my thinking.....I have more faith in our front offices ability to evaluate Davenport, than I have in Green Bays Front office ability to do the same.



Hey, Packers fan and Davenport fan here.


First off, he runs high and that's part of the reason he gets hurt.

It isn't a problem of him getting hurt a lot, but it seemed like every time he got a chance to actually play, he got hurt. He would go 3-4 games with one or 2 carries, then if Ahman Green got hurt and he had to play then the injury bug was on the way.

He broke the eye socket when he got hit on a kick return and I believe his helmet didn't fit right.

Davenport's one good game in his career is why he lasted so long with the Packers. They kept hoping it would happen again, it never did. From what I saw this year he was horrible. They brought in that zone blocking scheme, and it doesn't work for him.


I hope he does great. I like him as a player, maybe the change of scenery helps. I'd love to see that. Good luck guys.

Big D
09-17-2006, 08:03 PM
I love this pick up personally. I think he is the hard nosed running back that we need. His fault is he took a dump in a closet. Hell i went to college and had my fair share of frat boy mistakes. How many of us have done dumb shit when we were younger. I think he will be a great short yardage back