Bob Davis, a free-agent rookie middle linebacker from BYU, is considered a longshot at making the Phoenix Cardinals' roster this year.
A few months ago, he was a considered lucky just to be alive.Davis was nearly killed on May 26 when he was struck by a speed boat while jet skiing on the Colorado River near Laughlin, Nev., with his brother.
He was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken jaw in two places, a collapsed lung and 40 stitches in his face, mouth, chin and legs.
"The boat didn't see me and ran over me," Davis said. "In fact, the boat didn't even stop after I was hit. The driver thought I was all right and kept right on going.
"The power boat hit me from behind and the impact broke one side of my jaw and my head hitting the jet ski broke the other side. If my brother Steve didn't pull me out of the water when he did, I might have died."
Davis, 21, was hospitalized for a week in Bullhead City before being transferred to a hospital in his hometown of Mesa.
He had his jaw wired shut by a dentist, had to go on a liquid diet and watched his weight dwindle from 245 to 215 on his six-foot frame.
The injuries also forced Davis to miss the Cardinals' mini-camp in May although he stopped by the team offices in Phoenix to show the coaches he was still alive.
"I drove myself over there, which probably wasn't too smart," he said. "I walked on crutches, my feet were swollen and my face was wired up."
It made quite an impression on new head coach Joe Bugel.
"You could tell he really wanted to play," Bugel said. "You think you'd look at him and say, `Not a chance.' But you have to take a long look because he's got something to him."
Davis, who led BYU in tackles his last two seasons and was a two-time Butkus Award finalist, has regained 20 pounds and was bench-pressing 400 pounds as training camp began Monday at Northern Arizona University.
"A remarkable recovery," Bugel said. "I didn't think he'd be here this year. Right now, I'll tell you what, that kid has a chance with that kind of attitude."
However, Davis became the Cardinals' first injury of camp when he was hit hard during a tackling drill in Monday's second practice.
Davis bled profusely from the mouth and nose and feared he had broken his jaw again.
"That poor devil," Bugel said. "You talk about a string of bad luck."
Team officials said Tuesday, though, that Davis does not appear to have a new break and should be ready to practice again by Friday.
Despite the latest setback, he remains determined to play in the NFL this season.
"I might have to work 10 times harder, but I guarantee you I'm going to make the team," said Davis. "I don't think I'm a longshot at all. It basically comes down to whether you can play football and whether you can hit. I don't see myself getting cut."