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Pittsburgh Steelers' Bruce Davis is Super like his dad

Bruce Davis Sr., right, blocking the Lions’ William  Gay, won two Super Bowl rings with the Raiders.

Getty Images (1987)

Bruce Davis Sr., right, blocking the Lions’ William Gay, won two Super Bowl rings with the Raiders.

Bruce Edward Davis II has always wanted to follow in his father's footsteps.

The backup Steelers linebacker did so in college, becoming an All-American at UCLA, where his father, former Raiders offensive tackle Bruce Sr., played from 1975-78 and his mother, Lorna, ran track.

But the rookie is far from finished. He remembers at a young age his dad showing him his two Super Bowl rings still nestled in their original casing.

"I'd say, 'If he's got two, I've got to get two,' " Davis said. "It's always been a dream."

His first chance comes in a story­book scenario on Super Bowl Sunday in Tampa, where his dad earned his second ring as a member of the Raiders' upset of the Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII at Tampa Stadium on Jan. 22, 1984.

Like father, like son.

"I've been saying all week, 'What did I do right to deserve all this?' " said Davis, who was born 20 months after his father's win in Tampa. "It's been crazy.

Said his father: "For most adults, sometimes it takes a lifetime to realize your full potential and your dream. For most of us it's in your 40s and 50s. He's doing it at 23 years old."

Davis, backup to LaMarr Woodley, hopes to mimic the former Michigan star who has tutored him since training camp. Davis, like Woodley, was converted from defensive end, where he was one of college football's premier pass rushers, racking up 24½ sacks in his final two seasons before being drafted in the third round. Davis, who at 6 feet 2, 252 pounds has mostly played on special teams, said he has been "soaking in everything" from his All-Pro teammates, while patiently waiting his turn to take his place in the franchise's storied linebacker tradition.

Davis is "quick off the ball and instinctive," said UCLA defensive line coach Todd Howard, a former Chiefs linebacker and Rams assistant. "I think he has the ability and intellect (to make the switch)."

He also has the bloodline. Davis Sr. said he has talked to his son about preparing for the big game, and remembers his Tampa Super Bowl as if it were yesterday. There was the pregame media hype and trash talk, with Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley running his mouth, "I think the most famous one was he was going to 'feed me to the alligators,' '' Davis said, laughing.

"I remember telling (Manley) after the game, 'You can go touch Jim (Plunkett) now, cause you didn't during the game.' "

In Super Bowl XVIII, nothing went as expected. The favored Redskins, behind league MVP Joe Theismann and fullback John Riggins, were supposed to run all over the Raiders.

Instead, in the 38-9 Raiders victory, often called "Black Sunday," it was a Marcus Allen run that is etched in Super Bowl lore. The game MVP had a highlight-reel 74-yard scoring run on the final play of the third quarter in which he changed direction.

"Marcus actually missed a hole — there was a hole you could have driven a truck through," Davis joked. "He had to put a little flair in it."

The celebration had its own flair, too, with the Raiders toasting "about 120 bottles of Dom Perignon," and Davis smoking a Cuban cigar for the first time.

Davis told his son to consider the Super Bowl like a "business trip," but also reminded him to "take it all in. It's something you'll never forget the rest of your life."

Davis, who is a middle school teacher in the Washington D.C. area, will assemble what could be a large family fan club at Raymond James Stadium: daughter Jennifer is working on her Ph.D. in California and younger son Ian is a freshman walk-on defensive end at UCLA, who wears the same No. 44 his older brother did.

Whether another Davis gets to hold the Lombardi Trophy remains to be seen, but he'll likely have a similar emotional moment before the game.

"I remember being the second player introduced, running out of the tunnel and looking and seeing my parents," Davis Sr. said.

When Davis has his chance, they'll be able to share more than a look.

.fast facts

Other father-son combos

Father: Julius Adams, DE, New England (XX)
Son: Keith, LB, Philadelphia (XXXIX)

Father: Ross Browner, DE, Cincinnati (XVI)
Son: Max Starks, T, Pittsburgh (XL)

Father: Frank Cornish, DT, Miami (VI)
Son: Frank, C, Dallas (XXVII, XXVIII)

Father: Tony Dorsett, RB, Dallas (XII, XIII)
Son: Anthony, CB, Tenn. (XXXIV); Oakland (XXXVII)

Father: Bob Griese, QB, Miami (VI, VII, VIII)
Son: Brian, QB, Denver (XXXIII)*; Chicago (XLI)*

Father: Emery Moorehead, TE, Chicago (XX)
Son: Aaron, WR, Indianapolis (XLI)

Father: Don Hasselbeck, TE, L.A. Raiders (XVIII)
Son: Matt, QB, Seattle (XL)

Father: Mosi Tatupu, RB, New England (XX)
Son: Lofa, LB, Seattle (XL)

Father: Manu Tuiasosopo, DT, San Francisco (XIX)
Son: Marques, QB, Oakland (XXXVII)*

* Did not playSource: NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers' Bruce Davis is Super like his dad 01/22/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 23, 2009 7:11am]
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