Terrell Davis opened the door on his emotional journey toward the Hall of Fame

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Two Super Bowl Rings, one Super Bowl MVP, one NFL MVP, a 2,000-yard season, 7,607 total rushing yards, 60 rushing touchdowns, seven consecutive playoff games with at least 100 rushing yards and much more.

Terrell Davis put together one helluva resume, but that resume wasn't changing.

"I played football 17 years ago," he remembers oh-so-precisely.

The Broncos all-time leading rusher had been eligible for his sport's greatest honor, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, for more than a decade, his one resume hole of longevity debated ad nauseam, his inability to get in shoved in his face year after year as his peers donned brand new gold jackets. Eventually, he began to emotionally hedge.

“There was a point," he explained earlier this month. "About the sixth or seventh year when I was just constantly making the semifinalist list, but there was no one talking about me, I thought maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. People would come in, and they would go to the Hall, and I just thought it wasn’t meant to be."

"I’d come out and say that if I didn’t make the Hall, I was fine with it and that it wouldn’t change my career," he added with a guilty smirk. "I meant some of that. I didn’t mean all of it (laughs)."

Just as "TD" began to let go, though, life pulled him back in.

"About four years ago, when there became some momentum behind it, and people that weren’t in my corner started turning, I thought maybe something was happening," he said. "I remember the day vividly. I was driving down the road with my wife, and I got a text that said I’d made it as a finalist for the Hall of Fame and I almost crashed the truck. I saw the text come through and we pulled over. My wife and I were just super excited about it. That was progress. We were now getting to a point that we were in that room. Then I became kind of rejuvenated about it. I thought maybe it was going to happen."

In 2017, after a few more years of elevated hopes and heartbreak, it finally did.

On Feb. 5—alongside Kurt Warner, LaDanian Tomlinson Morten Anderson, Kenny Easley, Jason Taylor and Jerry Jones—Denver's favorite Mile-High-Saluter had his name called, Hall-of-Famer at last.

"I think when it happened, and the relief that I felt, I realized how much I wanted it," he admitted.

The career: immortalized. The longevity: irrelevant. The journey: vindicated.

"No matter what happens," Davis concluded with a smile that glimmered like a Super Bowl ring. "No one can take that from you."

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