CALGARY - Torrey Davis knows all about second chances and their value.
The Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman is trying to make the most of his.
With so much focus on new Stampeders offensive lineman Tony Washington and his second chance — a registered sex offender after having consensual sex with his sister eight years ago, at age 16 — there are others on the team who have tripped up to varying degrees en route to where they are today.
Davis sees one of those people when he looks in the mirror.
A top-rated prospect out of high school in Florida, the hulking defensive lineman had the world by the tail during his sophomore season at the University of Florida. Davis recorded a pair of touchdown-saving goal-line tackles in the Gators’ 24-14 win over Oklahoma in the BCS title game, and the sky was the limit.
Then, things began falling apart.
Amidst academic issues and off-field problems — including an arrest for driving with a suspended license — he unceremoniously left the Gators.
Davis transferred to Jacksonville State for a year and had high hopes for an NFL career.
He went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent but was released.
A year out of the game has made him realize how fortunate he is to have the talent to be a professional athlete.
“I really feel blessed to have the opportunity to come back and play football,” said Davis, who’ll turn 23 in September. “I fully understand about second chances.”
In fact, Davis will admit a third chance was needed to put things in order.
“I carried some of my old ways from Florida and saw things weren’t working. It wasn’t until after I left Jacksonville State and tried out for the Bucs, got cut and was on my own,” he said when asked what his turning point was.
“I needed to provide for my son (Torrey Davis Jr.) and everything was falling down.
“I’d seen I had to get some things in line. Just because I had talent, it didn’t mean it would take me where I needed to go. I knew there were other things that needed to be done.”
Maybe the Stampeders will be the beneficiary of those lessons, too.
Davis is a 6-foot-3, 298-lb. combination of speed and size, but he fell through the cracks. Now, he’s extra motivated.
“Before last game (last week’s pre-season tilt against B.C.), I couldn’t sit still on the sidelines because I sat an entire year without playing football, and I hadn’t done that since I started in ninth grade. I still wanted to play,” said Davis, who recorded one tackle in the 24-0 loss.
While Davis’ performance in the pre-season was a good start, it is just a step, something GM/head coach John Hufnagel is quick to remind him.
“I really don’t care what school they’re from, what they accomplished in high school or college. It’s what they do on this field,” Hufnagel said. “He needs to do it consistently.”