2014 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

Terrence ToliverAug 1 05:02p

Free-agent CB Brandon E. Smith (Bills), WR Terrence Toliver (Bears), TE Brett Brackett (Dolphins) and OG Jared Smith (Seahawks) all officially cleared waivers and became free agents Friday, Aug. 1.

Allen RobinsonAug 1 11:52a

Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (hamstring) will miss at least two weeks with a hamstring injury.

Tandon DossAug 1 10:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (hamstring) and WR Tandon Doss (undisclosed), DT Jordan Miller (undisclosed) and LB John Lotulelei (leg) will miss an extended period of time.

Marshawn LynchJul 31 08:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch will make $6.5 million in base salary this season instead of $5 million, according to a league source. Lynch will now be guaranteed an [ More ]

Jonathan GrimesJul 31 05:52p

Houston Texans RB Jonathan Grimes (undisclosed) and LB Trevardo Williams (undisclosed) have been activated from the Non-Football Injury list and Physically Unable to Perform list, respectively.

Marshawn LynchJul 31 05:22p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch arrived in Seattle Thursday, July 31, according to a source. Lynch officially ended his holdout from training camp.

Jared SmithJul 31 04:52p

The Seattle Seahawks waived OG Jared Smith (undisclosed) from the Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Thursday, July 31.

Terrence ToliverJul 31 04:52p

Chicago Bears WR Terrence Toliver (toe) was waived with an injury settlement Thursday, July 31.

Steve GregoryJul 31 04:32p

The Kansas City Chiefs signed free-agent SS Steve Gregory (Patriots) Thursday, July 31, to an undisclosed deal.

Matt SlaterJul 31 03:32p

The New England Patriots have activated WR Matthew Slater (undisclosed) from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.

Chris WhiteJul 31 03:32p

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce (leg) and LB Chris White (undisclosed) participated in practice Thursday, July 31. Both players sat out practice Wednesday, July 30.

Peria JerryJul 31 03:22p

Atlanta Falcons DT Peria Jerry announced his retirement Thursday, July 31.

Marshawn LynchJul 31 03:22p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch will not receive a new deal and added money, but the team is expected to add some financial concessions to his contract.

Ronald JohnsonJul 31 01:52p

The Seattle Seahawks signed WR Ronald Johnson (Eagles) Thursday, July 31. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Anthony McCoyJul 31 01:42p

Seattle Seahawks TE Anthony McCoy (Achilles') was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, July 31.

Frank AlexanderJul 31 01:42p

Carolina Panthers DE Frank Alexander said he will not appeal his four-game suspension, because he was guilty of violating the NFL's policy.

Chad HenneJul 31 01:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Chad Henne is in no danger of losing his starting job at this point, according to head coach Gus Bradley. Henne has looked comfortable during practice and is performing well.

Blake BortlesJul 31 01:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles worked on his development and has progressed faster than originally anticipated, according to offensive coordinator Judd Fisch. 'I think that one of the things [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 31 01:22p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Friday, Aug. 8. Smith is facing a suspension for three felony gun charges and a DUI.

David WilsonJul 31 01:12p

Doctors for New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) are very hesitant to clear him to return to football after suffering a neck stinger in practice.

Tony RomoJul 31 01:12p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) said he is not sure if he will play in the team's preseason opener Thursday, Aug. 7. 'You're constantly evaluating it and you're [ More ]

Rueben RandleJul 31 12:32p

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle (hamstring) said his hamstring is feeling better and he expects to practice Thursday, July 31.

Donald ThomasJul 31 12:32p

The Indianapolis Colts placed OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps) on the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, July 31.

David WilsonJul 31 12:01p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) 'needs a miracle' from his surgeon's evaluation to be able to continue his playing career, according to a source.

David WilsonJul 31 11:52a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) attended team meetings Thursday, July 31, and appeared ready to go, according to RB Rashad Jennings.

Brent UrbanJul 31 11:42a

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice Wednesday, July 30, and will miss the entire 2014 season.

Lance LouisJul 31 11:32a

Indianapolis Colts OG Jack Mewhort appears to be the leading candidate for the starting left guard job. OG Lance Louis is also considered a candidate for the job.

Donald ThomasJul 31 11:22a

Indianapolis Colts OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps) is scheduled to undergo season-ending quadriceps surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Nick BarnettJul 31 11:12a

Free-agent LB Nick Barnett (Redskins) is still an option for the Atlanta Falcons depending on what happens with the team's linebackers. The Falcons worked out Barnett in June but did not sign him.

Josh GordonJul 31 10:42a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is not practicing Thursday, July 31, and presumably will miss practice Friday, Aug. 1, to attend his suspension appeal hearing.

Eric BerryJul 31 10:32a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (leg, foot) was carted off at practice Thursday, July 31, with a right leg or foot injury. SS Jerron McMillian has taken his place.

Jordan TodmanJul 31 09:52a

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart is expected to be spelled by RBs Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson so he doesn't reach the 300-carry plateau.

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