Where Are They Now: John Davis
Davis enjoyed the hurry-up
offense the Bills used
Jan 8, 2003
John Davis helped Buffalo compile a
13-3 record in 1989 and its first AFC Championship.
For John Davis, Plan B meant bound for Buffalo. The versatile
offensive lineman used the NFL free agency system in 1989 to leave the
Oilers for the Bills. And actually, it really didnt take too much
"The main reason I left Houston was because of (head
coach) Jerry Glanville. I didnt want to play for somebody like him.
Hes not a good guy. He obviously wasnt a very good coach or
hed still be coaching. It gave me an opportunity to move on and
I obviously made the right decision," said Davis, who was the second
Plan B free agent signed by the Bills. Offensive tackle Caesar Rentie
was first, however, Rentie never played a game for the team.
"I dont think Caesar was willing to learn all
the positions. As a backup, you have to learn all the positions and he
was pretty much one-dimensional. While I was in Houston, I played all
three positions (on the offensive line). And I think that gave me a little
bit more of a leg up."
Davis may have had a leg up, but he would have much rather
lined up with the offensive starters instead of on field goal attempts
"When I first decided to go to Buffalo, they told me
that I would have an opportunity to compete for a starting job against
(right tackle) Joe Devlin. They had intended to move Joe to right guard.
I never got that chance. And thats the only thing that really bothered
me, that I never got the chance," Davis said. "If I would have
gotten the chance and not been able to produce then I would have understood.
But thats the way things happen and at the time, you really dont
understand its a business because youre young and youre
still wanting to break in and play and be a part of the team. I paid my
dues and luckily had a chance the next year."
His timing could not have been much better. Starting at
right guard between Kent Hull at center and Howard Ballard at tackle,
the trio, along with Jim Ritcher and Will Wolford, allowed the fewest
sacks (27) by a Bills team in nine years, not counting the 82 strike
season. Their efforts helped Buffalo compile a 13-3 record, win the AFC
championship and meet the Giants in Super Bowl XXV.
"It was special. I had been waiting a long time to
get to the position where I could start and feel like I can contribute.
The one thing that they always say is you dont have the experience,
you dont have the experience. Im like, Well, how
do I get it? Finally, they gave me an opportunity to go out and
play. I felt like I proved to them that I could handle the job."
As well as handle the hurry-up offense. "At the beginning,
I was kind of skeptical because of tiring out. Because its an up-pace,
upbeat offense. But once we got rolling in it, everybody was looking at
each other and it was like, You know, were not even tired,"
said Davis. "At the end of the game, I realized I just played 30
minutes, but it doesnt feel like it. I think a lot of players preferred
the no-huddle simply because it always kept the defense off balance. And
it obviously gave us an advantage."
Though disappointed with the title game loss to New York,
Davis and the rest of his teammates continued to keep opponents off balance
the following season. However, the road back to the Super Bowl took an
unfortunate turn for the guard during the twelfth game of the year, which
was played against New England. He "blew out" his right knee
and had to undergo season-ending major reconstructive surgery. "It
was very frustrating. I felt like that was, by far, my best season that
I was playing. I felt that my 90 season was good, but I felt that
my 91 season, I had just taken another step and had played consistently
well the whole year. As far as grading out, as far as no penalties and
With the same determination that Davis had demonstrated
in his goal to become a starter, he would now have to focus most of his
attention on his physical therapy.
"The toughest part was knowing I wouldnt get
to play. And youre not part of the team, regardless of what people
say. Youre rehabbing and as much as you want to play, and as much
as your teammates want you to play, youre not in the everyday activities
of the team," Davis said. "I give a lot of credit to Mr. Abe
(Eddie Abramoski), the trainer at the time, and to Bud Carpenter. They
did a wonderful job. It was hard on all of us because we all knew how
much I wanted to get in and play."
"I was on a team that did something
that will never be done again, and thats playing in four-straight
Super Bowls," said Davis.
Davis achieved his goal of returning in one year. After
missing 13 games, including Super Bowl XXVI, he suited-up against the
Jets and played on the field goal unit. The same position he was playing
when he got injured.
"A lot of emotions were running through. I didnt
want to be out there, but I did want to be out there. And it gave me a
good opportunity to get my feet wet again in an actual game situation.
I started gaining a little bit more confidence each week. If you look
at it now, I wasnt ready to play. I thought I was at the time, but
now I look back and I knew I wasnt. But you know what? The opportunities
come few and far between to play in the NFL and I was going to do anything
I could possibly do to get back on that field."
Davis eventually returned to the starting lineup and stayed
there through the 94 campaign. What is he most proud of of his six
seasons with the Bills?
"I was on a team that did something that will never
be done again, and thats playing in four-straight Super Bowls,"
said Davis. "And also, I look back and one of the things that constantly
amazes me is Jim (Kelly) got into the Hall of Fame, and Marv (Levy) got
into the Hall of Fame, and my friend, Mike Munchak with Houston got into
the Hall of Fame, and personally, I have played with anywhere from 10
to 12 guys with Houston and Buffalo that will one day be inducted into
the Hall of Fame. Being able to play on that high level for eight years
is something that Im real proud of."
Davis, his wife, Hester, and their four children: Olivia,
12; Harrison, 8; John Henry, 2 1/2; and three-month-old Julia; are in
the process of returning to Western New York. He is working for Beaulieu
of America Carpet Co., and sells to distributors and retail stores throughout
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