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Former Denver Broncos running back and two-time Super Bowl champion Terrell Davis, right, supervises a drill Friday during the Hy-Vee/Sanford Legends Sports Clinics at Kirkeby-Over Stadium in Sioux Falls. (Brooke Cersosimo/Republic)

'A lost art': Teaching football FUNDAMENTALS

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SIOUX FALLS -- When Terrell Davis retired from the NFL in 2002, the plans he had for his future children didn't involved football.

Davis won two Super Bowl titles with the Denver Broncos in 1997 and 1998, and suffered his fair share of injuries, including a torn ACL and MCL. During the Super Bowl XXXII, the star running back was hit hard and left the field with a migraine. Davis returned to the game in the second half, scored three touchdowns and was named Most Valuable Player.

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"I was the guy who said 'I'm not going to let my kids play' because I know what it's like being out there, sacrificing your body, playing when you're not healthy when you're forced to play," Davis said Friday at the Hy-Vee/Sanford Legends Sports Clinics in Sioux Falls.

Davis, who has 1-year-old and 3-year-old sons, has had a change of heart, saying he doesn't mind if his two boys play the sport.

"I didn't have that same attitude five or 10 years ago that I have now," said Davis, who finished his seven-year career with 7,607 yards and 60 touchdowns. "For me, I will let my kids play. I have no problem with it, but I do like baseball, golf and basketball."

Davis, an analyst and reporter for the NFL Network, thinks the game is much safer than it was when he ran the gridiron, helped by recognition of head injuries in recent years.

"The NFL has brought the awareness and allowing players to get the proper attention they need," he said.

After the 2013 season, the NFL said the number of concussions in the league had declined 13 percent, due to improved medical diagnoses, stiffer penalties and fewer practices.

In the preseason and regular season, players suffered 228 concussions, down from 261 in 2012, when concussions increased 4 percent compared with the previous year.

It's important to Davis that coaches at youth football camps, like Legends, teach correct technique.

"Fundamentals are a lost art and they don't teach necessarily how to get in the proper stance or how to block or tackle properly," he said. "That's important."

Davis and Minnesota Vikings linebacker and Mount Vernon native Chad Greenway interacted and participated in drills Friday at Legends' free football clinic at Kirkeby-Over Stadium in Sioux Falls. There were 300 youth players at the clinic, according to Legends coordinator Tyler Schulte.

Other celebrities at Legends this year are Christian Laettner (basketball), Hunter Kemper (Olympic triathlete), Hall of Fame baseball player Dave Winfield and Mitchell native and Memphis Grizzlies player Mike Miller, who will be at the free basketball clinic from 9 to 11 a.m. today at the Sanford Pentagon.

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Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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