January 23, 1998 in Sports

Their Mothers Can Tell Them Apart, Probably

Don Pierson Chicago Tribune
 

The nation braces itself for another Super Bowl. It is the day 100 million people find out whether Terrell Davis and Dorsey Levens are really the same person.

“The similarities are scary, if you ask me,” Davis said.

It is possible, although highly unlikely, that two opposing running backs in a Super Bowl could both be unsung former fullbacks who went to college in the state of Georgia after transferring but didn’t play much because of assorted injuries.

It is possible that both could have hard-running styles between the tackles, both with great power and deceptive elusiveness. It is possible that each gets the ball approximately 24-1/2 times a game, running and receiving.

It is even quite likely that the running backs will be the best allies of quarterbacks Brett Favre and John Elway on Sunday and could play vital roles in their team’s chances, as they have all season.

Both could be quite eligible bachelors from very nice families. Both could be articulate and polite, not yet spoiled by riches or fame, and both could be approximately 26 years old.

But could they both be wearing braces?

Could two different running backs on the same giant stage both be poster boys for orthodontia?

Could those steel smiles truly come from two faces? Or are Dorsey Levens and Terrell Davis really one super man in a Super Bowl?

“At first I used to come out of the game because I’d get the brace stuck in my lip, but they form callouses and after a while there’s no problem,” Davis said.

“It bothered me a lot when I first got them. I really couldn’t talk,” Levens said. “My mouth was sore all the time, but I got used to them. I had to get a new mouthpiece. The first game I played, the inside of my mouth got all cut up and I was spitting out blood. After that, everything inside my mouth sort of calloused up and it doesn’t bleed anymore.”

Or was it Levens speaking first and Davis second? Or are all those words from one mouth?

No one seems to know for sure. Packers linebacker Brian Williams, asked to compare Davis to other backs he has faced, could come up with only one name: “He’s really most like Dorsey.”

Broncos linebacker John Mobley, asked about the Packers’ offense said: “It’s similar to ours with a great running back who is built a little bigger than Terrell. They have similar running styles, slash and tight cutback running.”

Levens is a little bigger. Maybe that’s why he went to Notre Dame first and was drafted 149th after a so-so finish at Georgia Tech. Davis went to Long Beach State first and was drafted 196th after a so-so finish at Georgia.

The Bears, for one, sure couldn’t tell them apart. Levens was drafted way after Raymont Harris in 1994 and Davis was drafted way after Rashaan Salaam in 1995.

Davis remembers playing against Salaam in Pop Warner football. Both are from San Diego, but Davis lost track of Salaam because they never faced off in high school - Salaam played eight-man football at a private school, and Davis was a defensive lineman.

Davis’ high school hailed him as a returning hero and retired his number this week - “Probably the best thing that ever happened to me so far,” he said.

Both are looking for more, starting Sunday. Levens appeared on an “Oprah Winfrey Show” during the Packers’ bye week last October. The subject was “looking for true love” and Levens would truly love to hear the end of it.

“True love is cool, but it’s not on top of my priority list,” Levens said. “Some people believe everything they read or hear on TV. I mean, give me a break. I got about 1,000 letters and my voice mail stays full. Most are pretty decent.

“Whenever we travel, there are messages from women who saw the show. Cards or flowers. They say, ‘I’m the right woman,’ ‘I don’t care about your money,’ ‘I don’t care about your fame,’ ‘I don’t know anything about football,’ ‘Just let me take you out to dinner,’ ‘We can just be friends.’

“I learned a lot of good pickup lines.”

But Levens says he won’t use them.

“I’m off the market. Somebody I met before Oprah,” he said.

So maybe he can forward calls to Davis. Nobody can tell the difference anyway.


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