Should The Cowboys Keep Keith Davis?

The safety and special teams captain recently visited Kansas City

This time last year, Keith Davis was bound for the sunny beaches of Miami and a reunion with Bill Parcells.

The hard-line Cowboys fans, most of them I know anyway, were shocked and a little bit dismayed at the news. The casual fans didn’t seem to notice.

It’s not that Davis is going to see Pro Bowl action anytime soon (though he did make the All-NFL Europe Team in 2004) or sell bales of shoddily screen-printed jerseys.

Rather, he seems to be a symbol of everything right in modern sports.

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He is a hometown boy, for one, from Italy, Texas (natives insist that it’s pronounced It-lee), a microscopic town just south of Dallas. He is a leader, by title as well as action (he is the captain of the special teams unit), and he seems to have the bygone team-first attitude that sports writers lament over constantly.

Read: Keith Davis is a good football player and a great teammate.

And yet, a year later, we’re back to where we started from, more or less. Davis is currently a free agent, and he has already visited Kansas City. Rumor has it that also courting Davis is an NFC East team not named the Cowboys. The signing of Gerald Sensabaugh on Tuesday has fans wondering if the 30-year-old’s time with Dallas is at an end.

Maybe it is, but it certainly shouldn’t be.

I don’t want to turn this into a bleeding-heart, "let’s keep Keith Davis because he’s a good guy" piece. That would be unprofessional.

But Davis looks like an invaluable asset to this Cowboys team for two reasons. First, outside of Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh, the safety position seems to be a question as it stands now, full of wide-eyed but unsure athletes. Davis provides a solid backup, something of an insurance policy in the secondary. But obviously, his greatest asset on the field is his special teams play. Read: he is a manic juggernaut on kickoffs and punts.

Secondly, and far more importantly from where the Cowboys stand, Davis is a leader in a locker room with a potentially fatal deficiency in that area. From all accounts, he is a great teammate, adept at grooming young players in the ways of the controlled chaos required to succeed in professional football.

Basically, the intangibles Davis brings to the table are worth twice what he will be asking. Does that fit into the Cowboys budget, though, is the question.

Whether or not the Cowboys need Keith Davis in the lineup to succeed is debatable. But there aren’t too many players left in the locker room as dedicated to success as is No. 29. That is a fact.

If Davis does sign with another team in the coming hours, or days, or weeks, some will notice, some won’t.

I definitely will, and I’ll be a little bit shocked and dismayed.

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