Davis leapt up the depth chart after clobbering San Francisco’s Tyronne Drakeford on a second-half kickoff. But it almost didn’t happen.
“You know the hit, but you don’t know the story behind it,” Davis would recall two decades later. “So it was the second preseason game in Tokyo. Well, the first preseason game, I didn’t play (much). (He had one carry for no gain.) The second game, chances are I’m not going to play in the second game. It’s past halftime and I’m hungry, man, I’m starving. So about the third quarter, I’ve got hot dogs, I’ve got chili dogs, I’ve got French fries, I’ve got ding dongs, I’ve got Snickers, thinking I’m not going to play.
“So, come the fourth quarter, they come to me — I think it was (assistant coach Richard Smith), who was a special teams coach, he said, ‘Hey, we’re going to put you in.’ He asked me if I wanted to go in and I was thinking, ‘Dude, I just ate all kinds of food, I don’t know if I want to go in the game now.’ The game was basically over, so I said, ‘Okay, I’ll go in.’ So I went in, thank God I did, I went in and made that hit.
“So then I’m thinking that’s the only play I’m going to play. Well, I come back to the sideline and running backs coach Bobby Turner comes over and says, ‘Hey, we want you to play a few more snaps.’ I threw up after I ran out on the kick. Bobby comes over and says, ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Yeah, I’m fine Bobby.’ ‘Do you want to play?’ ‘Uh, sure man, I’ll go in.’ I went in and I think I had five runs or something like that. But that’s where it all started.
“I think back to that because if I had said to (Coach) Smith that I didn’t want to go in, who knows where I would be today? Again, it’s because I’m over there eating hot dogs and stuff.
“So, kids, don’t eat hot dogs when the opportunity presents itself — or Ding Dongs or Kit Kats or whatever else we had.”