Davis (Williams), Domanick

to04 ddavisCards: Topps 2004, Playoff Absolute Memorabilia 2004
Acquired: 2016, EBay

Ah Dominick Davis… probably my favorite in the short Houston Texans Mt. Rushmore of runningbacks. He was the engine that made the Texans offense move during the early growing pains of the franchise.  Originally a 4th round pick out of LSU, Domanick burst onto the scene in 2003 with an impressive preseason debut that helped him make the squad. In the meantime the team muddled behind the uninspired rushing of free agent signee Stacey Mack and rookie Tony Hollings.  Davis was an afterthought intent on making an impression.  By week 7 the Texans had enough of the Mack-Hollings experience, and gave Davis a shot at the starting job in a week 6 tilt against the New York Jets. (Remembering his effort during the preseason that still stuck out in my mind, I quickly signed and started Domanick on my fantasy team.) The Texans lost, but Davis in his first game did not disappoint, rushing for 133 yards. He was not only the first runningback in the short 23 games of the franchise to rush for 100 yards and the single game rushing record, but also caught 9 passes for 70 yards to give him 199 for the game, a yards from scrimmage team record. 3 more times during his rookie season, Domanick rushed for over 100 yards which helped him rumble for 1031 yards and 8 TDs winning the 2003 Rookie of the Year Honors.

poff04mem-dodavis2004 was Davis’ watershed moment. He had a combined 1731 yards from scrimmage, posting career season highs in all rushing categories (302 carries, 1188 yards, 13 rushing TDs, and 68 receptions for 588 yards). During a week 14 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Domanick again broke his single game rushing record (31 carries 158 yards).  The Texans were content rushing on the back of Davis to support their anemic QB play.  Behind him really was a who’s who of runningbacks and role players.  Davis was the darling of fantasy football- a 4 down back dynamo.

In 2005 Davis career came to a sudden end after 11 games. He rushed in 5 contests for 20 or more carries, including back to back 28 carry efforts in week 6 and 7.  In week 10 he almost eclipsed his single game rushing record with 155 yards on 29 carries against the Ravens. The following week against the Titans, Davis ran 22 times for 139 yards- in his final game.  I don’t think most people at the time knew it, (I mean I sure didn’t) but as Domanick left the field, it’d be the final time he’d suit up as a pro. The team in the meantime completely disintegrated finishing with a 2-14 record. The original coaching staff and front office would be dismissed after the season.

The Texans and Davis held out hope he’d return, if not sometime during 2006, for sure 2007.  He rehabbed and returned for 2006, but a ‘bone bruise’ in his knee aggravated during training camp caused him to be placed back on IR for all of 2006.

During this time period, Domanick changed his last name to Williams, more in line with his family’s name.  He also changed his number to 31 and got a new look to boot.  As Williams continued to rehab, rumors began to circulate that he’d never be able to play again. Eventually it came to light that if Williams was to continue playing football, he’d be running bone on bone- as the cartilage in his knee had nearly been destroyed.  As he was in a fair amount of pain and he could not pass his physical, he was cut by the Texans in 2007.

As of this post, Domanick is retired and living in Louisiana.  Recently I went ahead and acquired these two solid certified autographs of Davis/Williams for a cheap price through EBay. He popped up briefly and just long enough on Twitter for me to send him a copy of this really cool painting I did of Williams- some 10 years ago, but I wasn’t able to close a deal to get it signed. I’d love to see the Texans bring him back as an ambassador in the future which he sounded open to when I briefly talked to him, but he’s since disappeared again.  While Davis/Williams star burned briefly bright in the hearts and minds of Texans and fantasy football fans, he’s now relegated to being a footnote of firsts in the team’s record books.

G/GS 40/36     RUSH 770     YDS 3195     AVG 4.1     TD 23     LG 51T
REC 154    YDS 1276    AVG 8.3    TD 5    LG 38

 

 

 

 

 

Peters, Garry

Card: Sage Hit 2015
Acquired: 2015, Box Breaker

Garry Peters went unselected in the 2015 draft, and you have to wonder- why? Peters was considered one of the nation’s elite cornerbacks after a solid 2014 campaign. Over a two year period he only allowed 233 receiving yards and didn’t allow a single TD pass thrown his direction in 58 targets. Pretty impressive numbers for the Clemson alum. Well apparently the knock on Peters was his physical style at the line of scrimmage wasn’t going to fly at the NFL level. His 40 time at the combine was considered pedestrian at 4.61, but he also stood out by going up daily against the likes of first round talent Sammy Watkins and D’Andre Hopkins in practice at Clemson.

The Panthers love big bodied corners and signed Peters to a free agent contract. He turned heads in minicamp but was cut on the eve of the first day of practice due to a hamstring injury. Peters agent kept him very busy making a tour of the AFC East. He received tryouts with the Bills, Patriots, and Dolphins but didn’t get a bite.
He gave the CFL a shot in 2016 and landed on the roster of the Edmonton Eskimos.  Garry had 24 tackles and 5 special teams stops in 11 games in his rookie campaign.  As of 2017 he continues to play for the Eskimos.

Smith, Rod (WR-DEN)


Cards: Playoff Prestige 2004 Xtra Points, Leaf Rookies & Stars 2004 (072/250), Playoff 2005
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 1/20   Received: 3/10    (48 days)

Rod Smith is considered one of the greatest undrafted wide receiver free agent acquisitions in NFL history. After going unselected out of tiny Missouri Southern State in 1994, Rod signed with the Denver Broncos.  Rod spent the entirety of the 1994 season on the practice squad, while the Broncos were going through a slow overhaul at WR.

A gifted receiver who displayed eagerness and unyielding work ethic, Rod felt he had to work twice as hard as other players, because not only did he come from a Division II school, he had to work his way off the practice squad.  In 1995 he was promoted to the active roster, contributing primarily on special teams. In week 3, Rod posted his first reception- a 43 yard touchdown bomb from John Elway over the top of Darrell Green to win the game against the Redskins. The catch signaled the beginning of Rod’s arrival at the NFL stage. Throughout the 1995 season and the following year, Rod saw increased play time alongside Ed McCaffrey, as Anthony Miller was winding down.

Rod played his first full season in 1997. His ascension is critical in Broncos lore as he was able to help Denver win the Super Bowl in 1997 and 1998. Over the next 6 consecutive seasons he’d post over 1,000 yards receiving, including a career high 1,602 receiving yards in 2000, and 113 receptions in 2001. He’d also earn All Pro/Pro Bowl nods in both seasons. Rod made one more Pro Bowl appearance in 2005 after recording 85 receptions for 1105 yards and 6 TDs.

Rod was on pace for another banner season in 2006 but suffered a hip injury. In the end, Rod had to have his entire hip replaced in 2007, which ended the promising wide receiver’s career too soon, as he owned nearly the entire Broncos receiving record books. As fans sit there and debate, there is no question to me that if Smith’s career continued, he’d be a shoo in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His numbers and wins for a receiver are on par with that of Jerry Rice. Unfortunately there is a logger jam of players at receiver going back years that may curtail his induction.

In 2008, Rod was inducted into the Division II Football Hall of Fame. Soon thereafter, he also received honors from the College Football Hall of Fame (2009) and the Denver Broncos Ring of Honor (2012).
I was surprised to get Rod’s autograph on these cards. He also included a business card of his new self-help book, ‘The Rod Effect’ , which charts his life from rags to success outside of football.

G/Gs 183/125    REC  849    YDS 11389    AVG  13.4     TD 68    LG 85T

Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.