Canadian Football League

Thursday, January 26, 2006

From Canadian Football League Qb to selling cars, Ex Bomber now with Rampage

By Gary BondThe Grand Rapids Press
GRAND RAPIDS -- Selling cars and playing in the Arena Football League have at least one similarity for new Grand Rapids Rampage quarterback Jose Davis.
There was a time he knew very little about either.
But five years ago, during an off-season job search, Davis was confronted with an opportunity to be a car salesman.

"Davis had just returned from playing in the Canadian Football League and he was looking for an off-season job," said Vinny Costain, the sales manager at Jim Robinson's Ford-Lincoln-Mercury-Toyota and Scion dealership in Wheeling, W. Va., just across the state line from Davis' hometown of Bellaire, Ohio.
"He thought he would be washing cars for us."
But Costain, who is a few years older than Davis and knew of him from his high school and college athletic accomplishments, had a different job in mind.
"No way (was he washing cars). With your personality and people skills, you should sell cars," Costain said. "Davis told me he didn't know much about cars. And I told him I didn't either."
The new salesman was a quick learner. Davis sells an average of 10 to 15 cars a month and has a position waiting for him every off-season.
"I would love to see him make it (in the NFL)," Costain said. "But because he's good at what he does here, I sometimes root for his season to end a little earlier.
"Myself and probably three other guys he works with will be in Columbus, Ohio, to watch him Sunday."
That's when the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Davis will make his first start for the Rampage, his third AFL team, who open the 2006 season against the Columbus Destroyers.
The Rampage hope Davis takes to being the starting quarterback as quickly he did to auto sales.
Davis beat out Chad Salisbury in training camp to be the temporary starter.

He was supposed to revert to backup when Raymond Philyaw was sufficiently recovered from rotator cuff surgery to take over the reins. But Rampage coach Sparky McEwen cut Philyaw this week, putting Davis in the driver's seat more or less permanently.
The guy who has started only three AFL games, all in place of injured starters, had a glittering college career in the Mid-American Conference. He still holds 14 records at Kent State University, where he passed for 551 yards in a 1997 game against Central Florida and quarterback Daunte Culpepper, and also threw seven touchdowns that same year in a game against Central Michigan.
"Jose is a young talent," McEwen said. "He's one of those guys coaches in this league feel like is up and coming. Now we take him to the next step. We're going to see if he can win football games.
"He's not proven as a starter, but you have to start somewhere and I think I've done pretty good job surrounding him with weapons. He doesn't have to do too much thinking. Just go out and play."
Davis, who hopes one day to be an auto sales manager or own his own dealership, also enjoys playing basketball in his spare time.
His senior year at Bellaire High School, Davis averaged 28 points per game as a point guard and was named to the All-America third team. He went back to coach at his alma mater this season for the first time as an assistant coach. One of the players on the varsity team is his younger brother, Nate, a senior.
"When you talk about Jose Davis, the words competitor and leader come to mind," said Gene Ammirante, who has been the boys varsity basketball coach the past 25 seasons at Bellaire.
"Before his brother came along, I said Jose was the best skilled player I've ever coached. Now I have to say his younger brother is. He's bigger (6-2) and 40 pounds heavier.
"Jose still holds many records at our school, including the highest scoring average in a season (28 points per game). But the one thing that I remember best was during his sophomore season when we went 20-0 during the regular season and he led us in rebounding. He was 6-foot tall and 160 pounds wet."
By committing early to Kent State on a football scholarship, many universities didn't bother to offer Davis a basketball scholarship, but he did play both sports -- football and basketball -- during his sophomore year for the Flashes. After that season he decided to concentrate on football.

"Jose Davis is sweet guy with a great temperament," said Eileen Morgan, the Bellaire High School attendance secretary. "He's a great athlete, too."
Because he has been a solid backup quarterback in the AFL for three seasons, there were teams interested in his services during the off-season. Now that he feels like he has grasped the concept of this indoor game, Davis wanted to be with an organization that would give him a chance to be a starter.
Grand Rapids was the only one to offer that opportunity.
"I've learned a lot about arena football over the past three season," said Davis, who has a 1-2 record as a starter. "And I want to show I can play this game.
"I'm a leader, without a doubt. I don't talk much. I lead by example and will go out Sunday and play like I have a chip on my shoulder."


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