2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Montee Ball out to make a name for himself - again

By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-05-10 16:06

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Whether known as Mon-TAY or Mon-TEE, running back Montee Ball made quite a name for himself during his record-setting career at Wisconsin.

Apparently he's got some work to do to become a household name in the NFL, though.

The Denver Broncos' second-round draft pick was a virtual unknown to at least one of his new teammates, veteran tight end Jacob Tamme, who said following the draft, ``I really know nothing about him. Look forward to meeting him. He's from Wisconsin, right?''

An NCAA record 83 touchdowns just didn't ring a bell with Tamme, who confessed he doesn't keep up with the college game except for Kentucky, his alma mater.

On a conference call with Executive Vice President John Elway earlier this week, a season ticket holder identified as Mike from Lakewood told the Broncos boss that he loved the selection of ``Monty Hall.''

OK, let's make a deal then.

First off, Ball wants to be called Mon-TAY, not Mon-TEE, as he was known for a while in Madison. And it shouldn't be long before everyone - from Mike in suburban Lakewood to Jacob at Broncos headquarters - knows plenty about the bruising back who can both carry defenders across the goal line and outrace them around the edge.

At 5-foot-10 and 217 pounds, Ball is the bigger back coach John Fox so desperately needed in Denver's playoff loss to Baltimore in January when Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno were out with injuries and the Broncos couldn't pick up the first down to run out the clock.

After the draft, Elway pointed to a picture outside his office of running back Terrell Davis, whom he teamed with to lead Denver to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in the 1990s, and flashed that famous toothy grin.

``That's who he reminds me of,'' Elway said. ``Terrell Davis.''

For good reason, too - Ball has been a Broncos fan since he was 7 and patterned himself after T.D. while piling up all those TDs.

``When we were watching Montee, the one thing that stood out about his running style is that it's a lot like Terrell Davis, and so that got us very excited, and we hope that Montee has an even longer career than Terrell had,'' Elway said.

The big issue with Ball is the wear and tear he had as the Badgers' featured back the last two years. He carried a school record 356 times last season to go with 307 carries his junior year. Counting catches, he had 697 touches the last two seasons and 983 for his four-year career in Madison.

He was also heavily used in high school with 995 career carries at Timberland High School in Wentzville, Mo.

That's a positive, not a problem, Elway insists.

``He's a guy that is durable,'' Elway said. ``He carried the ball 600 times the last two years, he had 55 touchdowns the last two years. He's got great short-area quickness, he has a knack to find the holes, he can run inside between the tackles and he can also run outside. Plus, he's extremely productive and has also proven to be durable and has not missed any games the last couple of years.

``We think we found a gem in Montee and I have high expectations for him.''

The Broncos felt better about Ball's durability than that of Alabama's Eddie Lacy, who was selected by Green Bay three spots after Ball. Many draft analysts had Lacy as the top-rated back in the draft.

``We liked both these backs, we had them very similar on the board,'' said Matt Russell, the Broncos' director of player personnel. ``The issue with Eddie Lacy at Alabama was that we were worried about a toe injury that he had, which is probably what caused him to slip.

``We just were worried about Eddie Lacy's medical (report) and how long he could play, and we felt like we got a career back in Montee Ball.''

Coach John Fox, whose Carolina teams always featured big, one-cut backs like Jonathan Stewart and Stephen Davis who found the lane and didn't dance, loved watching film of Ball's 77 TD runs for the Badgers.

``He's got skins on the wall at a high level of competition in college and when you look at running backs, I don't look at too many of the gymnastics, as I call them - height, weight, speed, all that stuff - it's a special skill being able to run the ball,'' Fox said.

``Whether it was Emmitt Smith, who ran a 4.7 coming out, you know you just don't put a lot of stock in those kinds of things other than the production, and he's been very productive and really on all three downs. He's not just a first- and second-down power back.''

His junior year, Ball tied Barry Sanders' NCAA single-season record with 39 touchdowns, while leading the country with 1,923 yards rushing. He rushed for 1,830 yards last year and won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top back.

No. 1 on Ball's to-do list, however, is protecting Peyton Manning, and he said he got plenty of practice honing his pass-protection skills blocking for quarterback Russell Wilson his junior year.

He'll get to practice with Manning for the first time May 20 when the veterans return for a three-day camp.

Growing up a Broncos fan, Ball was wide-eyed when he put on his uniform for the first time before taking the field Friday at the start of Denver's three-day rookie camp.

``I was like a little kid, as soon as I put the jersey on, the shorts, the cleats, I wanted to take all sorts of pictures and send them to my friends,'' Ball said. ``But it's all about business.''

Notes: Ball is wearing No. 38. Davis' old No. 30, belongs to S David Bruton. Ball's number in college, 28, belongs to S Quinton Carter. ... The Broncos signed two fifth-round draft choices - DE Quanterus Smith and WR Tavarres King - on Friday, one day after signing T Vinston Painter, a sixth-round pick. ... Air Force grad Ben Garland, who was on the practice squad last season, has moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard. ``We're just trying to give him the best opportunity we can to help him make our football team,'' Fox said.

---

AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton is on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt FlynnApr 16 10:01a

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Flynn is expected to compete with QB Scott Tolzien for the backup quarterback job, but head coach Mike McCarthy anticipates keeping three QBs on [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:03a

Retired LB Rolando McClain (Ravens) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, April 15, as he attempts a comeback. The workout wasn't a smooth one in terms of conditioning, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 16 12:03a

The New York Jets are sticking to their budget/value system. While they want free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), they will not 'overpay' for him. The depressed running back market [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 16 12:03a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith hasn't only lost the benefit of the doubt with the team, but he probably won't play with the team in 2014, according to [ More ]

Malcom FloydApr 15 11:53p

San Diego Chargers WR Malcom Floyd (neck) continues his rehab from a neck injury, but his status is still uncertain. When the team begins voluntary workouts April 22, Floyd [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 07:53p

Free-agent RB Chris Johnson's (Titans) visit with the New York Jets reportedly went well Tuesday, April 15, but he left without a deal. Other teams are involved with him, too.

Rolando McClainApr 15 07:53p

The Baltimore Ravens worked out LB Rolando McClain, and it reportedly wasn't a success. McClain didn't finish his conditioning test and didn't perform drills.

Terrell ManningApr 15 05:43p

The Minnesota Vikings claimed LB Terrell Manning off waivers from the San Diego Chargers Tuesday, April 15.

Adam PodleshApr 15 05:13p

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed free-agent P Adam Podlesh (Bears) to an undisclosed one-year deal Tuesday, April 15.

Allen ReisnerApr 15 03:53p

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday, April 15, that they've signed free-agent TE Allen Reisner (Jaguars) to an undisclosed deal.

Daniel KilgoreApr 15 03:23p

San Francisco 49ers OG Daniel Kilgore was found not guilty of public intoxication related to his arrest in January in Tennessee. His case was dismissed following his appearance in [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 15 02:23p

The Green Bay Packers agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal to re-sign QB Matt Flynn Tuesday, April 15, according to a source.

Dion JordanApr 15 01:53p

Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey is expecting big things from DE Dion Jordan in his second season this year. He's a very talented player and this is a [ More ]

Brandon LloydApr 15 01:33p

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent WR Brandon Lloyd (Patriots) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, April 15.

Chris JohnsonApr 15 12:23p

The Buffalo Bills have shown some interest in signing free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), according to sources.

Duron HarmonApr 15 10:57a

New England Patriots SS Duron Harmon is the leading candidate to take over as the Patriots' top strong safety now that Steve Gregory has been released.

Eli ManningApr 15 10:23a

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said it's 'ludicrous' to think that Giants QB Eli Manning is in decline. 'There's been no deterioration of his arm strength, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 09:33a

The New York Jets are visiting with free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans) Tuesday, April 15.

Will MontgomeryApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It's not known whether C Will Montgomery or C Manuel Ramirez will start at center.

Sidney RiceApr 14 11:52p

The Carolina Panthers might show an interest in free-agent WR Sidney Rice (Seahawks), but only at the right price.

Manuel RamirezApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It remains unclear whether OT Orlando Franklin, OG Ben Garland or C Manuel Ramirez will be the team's left guard.

Terrell ManningApr 14 05:32p

The San Diego Chargers have released LB Terrell Manning.

Nate IrvingApr 14 05:12p

Denver Broncos LB Nate Irving appears to be the leading candidate to start at middle linebacker at this time, but the team is expected to select a middle linebacker during the 2014 NFL Draft.

Leon HallApr 14 04:12p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Leon Hall (Achilles') has been cleared for all football drills as part of his rehab.

Jamarca SanfordApr 14 04:12p

Minnesota Vikings SS Kurt Coleman will likely be a contributor on special teams this year and enter the year competing with SSs Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo for a backup safety spot.

Dustin KellerApr 14 03:42p

The New England Patriots could show interest in free-agent TE Dustin Keller (Dolphins) at some point this offseason.

Jermichael FinleyApr 14 03:32p

Updating a previous report, the Miami Dolphins have told the agent of free-agent TE Jermichael Finley (neck) that they could be interested in signing Finley if he is cleared [ More ]

Von MillerApr 14 03:32p

Denver Broncos LB Von Miller (knee) said his surgically repaired knee is feeling good and hopes to play better than he did before he suffered his injury. 'I'm a [ More ]

Kurt ColemanApr 14 03:22p

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with free-agent SS Kurt Coleman (Eagles). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Sidney RiceApr 14 02:52p

Free-agent WR Sidney Rice (knee) has been cleared to participate in football activities by Dr. James Andrews, according to a source. The Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, New Orleans [ More ]

Chris CulliverApr 14 02:22p

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hit-and-run charges and felony possession of brass knuckles. Culliver was arrested March 28 for allegedly hitting a [ More ]

C.J. SpillerApr 14 01:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles tried to land Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller before they traded for RB Darren Sproles this offseason, according to two league sources familiar with the situation. [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group