The bond between coach and player run deep.
Deeper than the Xs and Os. Deeper than the thrill of winning world championships or the heartbreak of losing them.
For former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan, the connection between he and his former players is strong. Count them among his family.
“… You develop friendships as a head coach, assistant coach, as a player. And they are friends. They’re very close friends,” Shanahan told “The Drive” on Friday.
The coach called in ahead of his departure for Canton, Ohio, with a handful of former players — including 104.3 The Fan’s Alfred Williams — to watch their brother enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Terrell Davis.
“You just love them,” Shanahan said of his former players, whom he’s gone through both the “good times” and the “tough times” together.
As a family.
Like any head of a household, Shanahan said he’s “very proud” to watch one of his football children being honored like Davis will be Saturday night.
“Well, you’re really excited. It feels like it’s your kid,” Shanahan said.
And it’s almost especially sweet to watch Davis don the gold jacket.
From Long Beach State eliminating his football program, to being drafted in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL Draft, to nearly quitting before his breakout game in Toyko, to having a brilliant career cut short by injury, to struggling to garner enough votes over more than a decade to earn Hall of Fame enshrinement.
It’s been a long, grinding road to Canton for Davis.
And similar to a father who’s witnessed the trials and tribulations of a child, Shanahan beams with pride over Davis’ success.
“You to see what’s happening to TD, how he’s handled himself the last couple of weeks. To be around a guy who was really worried about making our football team, and to see him enter the Hall of Fame, you just feel very proud,” Shanahan said.
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.
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