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

Charles JohnsonAug 31 08:12p

The Cleveland Browns have placed WR Charles X. Johnson, OT Martin Wallace and OG Karim Barton on no-recall waivers.

Daryl RichardsonAug 31 07:22p

The New York Jets signed free-agents DT Tevita Finau, DL Kerry Hyder, SS Rontez Miles, TE Chris Pantale, OT Brent Qvale, RB Daryl Richardson and QB Matt Simms to [ More ]

Alex SmithAug 31 07:02p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith has agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $68 million with $45 million guaranteed.

Mike KafkaAug 31 05:02p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added TE Cameron Brate, RB Jeff Demps, QB Mike Kafka, LB Brandon Magee, DT Matthew Masifilo and WR Solomon Patton to their practice squad.

Michael CoxAug 31 04:42p

The New York Giants have signed RB Michael Cox, CB Bennett Jackson, CB Chandler Fenner, LB Dan Fox, DE Jordan Stanton, WR Julian Talley and OT Nick Becton to their practice squad.

Rex GrossmanAug 31 04:23p

The Cleveland Browns have released QB Rex Grossman, according to a source.

Michael EgnewAug 31 04:12p

The Detroit Lions have signed TE Michael Egnew and RB George Winn to their practice squad.

Benson MayowaAug 31 04:12p

The Oakland Raiders have claimed DE Benson Mayowa off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks.

Ryan JensenAug 31 03:42p

The Baltimore Ravens will sign QB Keith Wenning, CB Tramain Jacobs, TE Phillip Supernaw, LB John Simon, RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, DT AJ Pataialii and OG Ryan Jensen to their [ More ]

A.Q. ShipleyAug 31 03:32p

The Indianapolis Colts have claimed OG A.Q. Shipley off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens.

Jeff TuelAug 31 03:22p

The Buffalo Bills have signed S Deon Broomfield, DE Bryan Johnson, S Kenny Ladler, QB Jeff Tuel, LB Jimmy Gaines, WR Caleb Holley and DL Ikponmwosa Igbinosun to their practice squad.

Kapri BibbsAug 31 03:12p

The Denver Broncos have signed LB Shaquil Barrett, RB Kapri Bibbs, FS John Boyett, QB Zac Dysert, WR Bennie Fowler, OT Vinston Painter, WR Nathan Palmer, C Matt Paradis [ More ]

Lawrence OkoyeAug 31 03:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have added DL Lawrence Okoye and LB Shayne Skov to their practice squad.

Travian RobertsonAug 31 03:02p

The Atlanta Falcons have signed CB Ricardo Allen, FS Sean Baker, OG Harland Gunn, OL Terren Jones, WR Bernard Reedy, DL Travian Robertson, LB Jacques Smith and RB Jerome Smith to the practice squad.

Myles WhiteAug 31 02:52p

The Green Bay Packers have signed S Chris Banjo, WR Myles White, CB Jumal Rolle, TE Justin Perillo and OL Jeremy Vujnovich to their practice squad.

Tim DobbinsAug 31 02:43p

The Atlanta Falcons have claimed LB Nathan Stupar off waivers from the Jacksonivlle Jaguars and placed him on their 53-man roster, according to a league source. In a corresponding [ More ]

Ryan MallettAug 31 02:12p

The Houston Texans have acquired QB Ryan Mallett from the New England Patriots, in exchange for a sixth-round pick, according to multiple sources.

Ryan SeymourAug 31 01:02p

The Cleveland Browns claimed free-agent OG Ryan Seymour (49ers) off waivers Sunday, Aug. 31.

Michael SamAug 31 12:12p

Free-agent DE Michael Sam (Rams) reportedly cleared waivers and is free to sign with any team.

Josh KadduAug 31 03:22a

To get its roster down to 53 players on Saturday, Aug. 30, the Philadelphia Eagles released OT Kevin Graf, FS Keelan Johnson, LB Josh Kaddu, DT Wade Keliikipi and WR Will Murphy.

Wes WelkerAug 31 12:12a

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) will increase his activity level when the team returns to practice Monday, Sept. 1.

Khaled HolmesAug 30 11:52p

Indianapolis Colts C Khaled Holmes (ankle) is one of five offensive linemen on the team that is currently dealing with an injury, and Mike Wells of ESPN.com believes the [ More ]

Alfonso SmithAug 30 10:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Alfonso Smith was released Saturday, Aug. 30.

Tyler BrayAug 30 09:52p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Tyler Bray (undisclosed) and WR Kyle Williams (shoulder) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jamarca SanfordAug 30 09:52p

Minnesota Vikings OT Antonio Richardson (undisclosed) and S Jamarca Sanford (undisclosed) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 30.

A.J. McCarronAug 30 09:42p

Cincinnati Bengals QB A.J. McCarron (shoulder) was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jamar ChaneyAug 30 09:32p

Denver Broncos LB Jamar Chaney (undisclosed) was released from Denver's Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Vincent BrownAug 30 09:22p

San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Brown (calf) was placed on no-recall waivers with a waived/injured designation Saturday, Aug. 30.

Steve BeauharnaisAug 30 09:02p

New England Patriots LB Steve Beauharnais (undisclosed) was placed on no-recall waivers after reaching an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Andrew TillerAug 30 08:52p

Green Bay Packers OG Andrew Tiller (calf) and LB Joseph Thomas (knee) were placed on no-recall waivers after being released from Green Bay's Reserve/Injured list with injury settlements Saturday, Aug. 30.

Rajion NealAug 30 08:42p

Green Bay Packers RB Rajion Neal (knee) was placed on no-recall waivers after being released from Green Bay's Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Saturday, Aug. 30.

Shaun ChapasAug 30 07:52p

Baltimore Ravens RB Shaun Chapas (undisclosed) was waived from the Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement.

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