Montee Ball was star struck. Terrell Davis was awe struck.
The Denver Broncos Ring of Famer and current NFL Network analyst visited his old team Friday to interview the rookie running back.
"Throughout practice, I caught myself looking over at him," said Ball, who patterned his game after Davis. "I've got to stay focused on what's going on in the huddle. But I'm telling you, he's my idol. That's my idol right there."
Davis said he was touched, especially when Ball told him he emulated not just his running style but how he conducted himself in interviews.
"That just goes to show that my parents raised me right and that there are people out there who are watching us, and we are role models," Davis said. "It's good to see that it rubbed off on somebody. For me, it's good and now I'll get a chance to watch him and hopefully he'll be able to inspire some kid who's 7 years old watching him play. It's kind of like a pay it forward-type thing."
Davis showed Ball a couple of moves on the field and when Ball asked for advice, Davis was ready.
"Block," Davis said. "Learn how to block. Blocking is important. That was really the reason why I started to play, or got in. Running, most running backs can run, most running backs can catch, but blocking is the key. If you can block, you will be in the game. You will be that guy who becomes that complete back."
But, really, Ball already knew that. After watching Davis protect John Elway all those years, the first thing he said when the Broncos drafted him in the second round in April was that his top priority was to protect Peyton Manning.
Pick up the blitz first, then worry about picking up the first down.
Davis said Ball is well on his way to becoming that complete running back like he was.
"For him, he seems to have every asset known to man; he seems to do everything pretty good. Now it's just a matter of him staying consistent with it, blocking, knowing how to catch, picking up the defense and really getting comfortable with the offense. A lot of times that takes a lot longer than we all think. But he seems to be grasping everything fairly quickly, to be honest with you," Davis said.
"He's Montee Ball for a reason. He's not a guy who came out of nowhere. He's Big Ten-this, Big Ten-that, got all the records. He's got a great pedigree behind him and now he just needs to go ahead and put this thing to work."