ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —Terrell Davis still has nearly two months to wait before he's officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he's already looking ahead to the Hall's Class of 2018.
In Davis' eyes, that's when Owner Pat Bowlen's Hall of Fame wait should end.
"I think you just have to look at … the history of the Broncos [and] the success on the field," Davis said after stopping by Broncos minicamp Wednesday. "The way I judge franchises and how they're run, Pat Bowlen, he's run a first-class franchise way before I got here, and I know [he did the same] while I was here.
"It's in the stats. You look at the numbers, [and] it's one of the most successful, winning franchises in the NFL. But he doesn't get the credit, and a lot of it is because he didn't want the credit. He didn't want the credit."
Mr. Bowlen was named a 2017 finalist by the Contributors Committee, but he was not chosen for the Hall of Fame. Since that time, there's been a groundswell of support for Mr. Bowlen, who enters his 34th season as the team's owner.
"I'd tell [the committee], 'Don't think about the big names. Talk to the players, talk to the fans, talk to the media, talk to people in Denver, and they can tell you what a great owner Pat Bowlen is. That should make the decision for you,'" Davis said. "I am confident that Pat Bowlen's going in. Now, it's a question of when.
"We've got to get more momentum behind it, but I think he's going in, and I can't wait for that day to happen."
Davis also touched on the difference between candidates Mr. Bowlen and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame with Davis in early August.
"Jerry is a figure," Davis said. "He's out there. When you think about the NFL and owners, you think about Jerry Jones more than anybody, because he is, he's out there. He's a GM, as well. He's constantly on the radio, on TV. He's very outspoken.
"I mean, listen, I'm not saying any of that hurts you. It helps. It helped me – the NFL Network, being on TV, [that] helped me. And I'm aware of that. I had to stay relevant. I had to stay out there so people wouldn't forget me. So yeah, if you're out there, people are out there talking about you, it's easier for a guy to vote when you're on the tip of his mind or his tongue, you can say, 'OK, I remember that guy.' But when you have to dig down to find the name, it's hard."
Davis, who's an outspoken proponent for other Broncos making the Hall of Fame, has urged other former players to take a similar path. Former safety Steve Atwater is one of those players he's encouraged.
"I said, 'Steve, we've got to get you out there. We've got to get you out,'" Davis said. "Steve doesn't want the credit. And I said, 'I know, Steve. I know you're already very humble. I get it, but we've got to get you out more.'"
As the years continue to pass and the Broncos get more national exposure, Davis said he hopes the pendulum swings the other way for current and future candidates.
"I hope so," Davis said. "I think it is. It just depends on the next couple of guys who they're looking at. … I would love to get the players we talked about and others in there, too."
At least right now, though, the focus remains on getting Mr. Bowlen the recognition he's never asked for and so dearly deserves.