Yesterday afternoon, news broke that the Redskins had signed a running back by the name of Jeremiah Johnson to the practice squad. I was in the middle of wrangling my kids, so I re-tweeted Larry Weisman’s report of the news, made a note to find out more about the guy and work up a post about him, and moved on.
So, apparently, did the Redskins. Even later yesterday, the team signed James Davis — a running back who was recently released by the Browns — and released Johnson. (Johnson has now pulled ahead of Javarris James for shortest tenure on the 2010 Redskins practice squad, and it seems unlikely that his record will be broken.)
Davis starred as a running back at Clemson, where he overlapped with Buffalo Bills rookie C.J. Spiller. He’s the kind of one-cut running back who has the potential to star in Mike Shanahan’s system, and is definitely a practice squad guy to keep an eye on.
So while the folks in the equipment room were ironing DAVIS onto a nameplate this morning, Davis was sitting in the locker room in a blank 24 jersey. “I got the call probably about 7:00 or 8:00 last night,” Davis said, “and they told me they wanted me up here, so I had to fly out as soon as possible.”
Davis was coming from his home in Atlanta, but he didn’t spend much time there. “When I got released by Cleveland, I told them to fly me home,” he said. “So I flew home, and next thing you know I’m getting phone calls and had to fly back out.”
But the Clemson fans who have emailed me might want to dial their enthusiasm back just a notch, and Brooding Burgundy giving the Ryan Torain/Davis backfield the “Thunder Train” nickname might want to wait until he actually, you know, plays. “Just looking at it, it’s gonna take some time to learn the system,” Davis said. “But right now the good thing is you got a bye week after this, so I’ll get it and try to pick this up as soon as possible.”
But he chose the Redskins from a number of other suitors, and that system is one of the reasons. “I’m definitely excited to be here, man. I think this is a good system for me,” Davis said. He also knows that head coach Mike Shanahan has a history of getting success from undrafted and late-round running backs.
“It’s always in the back of my head that, you know, you got a chance,” Davis said. He met with Shanahan today, and “he was telling me about Torain and how he was on the practice squad, and how he worked his tail off and moved up. So I look at guys like that, and … you know, I’ve definitely got an opportunity.”
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