Denver Terrell Davis wanted to keep playing. His knees just wouldn't cooperate.
After struggling with injuries for nearly four years, Davis announced that tonight's preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers would be his final appearance in a Denver Broncos uniform.
"Unless some new technology comes along real soon," Davis said Saturday, "there's a good chance I'll never see the field again."
He considered trying to work through his latest ailment a degenerative condition in his left knee but doctors could not guarantee further treatment would alleviate the pain and swelling.
So instead of enduring another round of rehabilitation and wondering if he will play again, the 29-year-old Davis decided to end his career after just seven seasons. He will go on injured reserve Tuesday, allowing him to walk out in front of the fans one final time today.
"He wanted to go out on his own terms and he wanted some finality," Davis' agent Neil Schwartz said. "It means a great deal for him to walk out of the tunnel at Mile High one last time. He would shake the hands of all 75,000 people there if he could."
Davis' longevity leaves his place in history in doubt.
His 6,413 yards over his first four years in the league are the second-most in history over that span.
He finished his career with 7,607 yards, putting him ahead of five modern-day running backs already in the Hall of Fame Leroy Kelly, Hugh McElhenny, Lenny Moore, Gale Sayers and Doak Walker.
Davis also is one of four players to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. He won two Super Bowls and was one of just eight players to be MVP of the league and Super Bowl in a career.
"There have been a lot of 1,500-yard rushers in this league and guys who won MVP awards, but there haven't been very many guys that run for 2,000 yards and win the MVP and the Super Bowl," Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe said. "I don't think you can say because he didn't play for 10 or 15 years that he shouldn't get in. From 1996-98, he was the best player in the game, bar none."
Davis, drafted in the sixth round in 1995, became one of the most popular and productive players in team history.
His best seasons came in 1997 and 1998.
In the 1997 season, Davis helped John Elway win his first Super Bowl and was chosen the game's MVP as the Broncos defeated Green Bay 31-24. Davis set five franchise records that season, including 1,750 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns.
The next season, he had 2,008 yards and won the MVP award, joining O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson and Barry Sanders as the only players to top 2,000.
"For three or four years, he was untouchable," Broncos center Tom Nalen said.