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Najeh Trenadious Monte Davenport was born in Raleigh, NC while his mother Carolyn Howard attended North Carolina State. His father was murdered in November of 1978 when his mother was five months pregnant. Najeh grew up playing street football on weekends because he was too big for his age group to play Pop Warner. ” Playing with the older guys gave me advantages. The one year I did play Pop Warner football, I played for the Ft Myers Rebels. In the peewee league their weight limit restriction was 140 and I weighed about 145 at the age of 11. I remember sitting in my coach’s truck with the heater on full blast and a garbage bag on to drop the extra weight.” -NAJEH Najeh only played one year of Pop Warner because of the weight requirements and continued playing baseball and street football until his mother moved to Miami in 1994. In a new city and a new school, Najeh found different restraints when it came to playing football again. “This kid told me I couldn’t play because I was too big. They played every morning before school. I mean they were big games too. I was already alienated from most of the people I walked to school with because of my honor classes. Not being able to play just made me work that much harder.” -NAJEH

Najeh Davenport Sr. year against Miami Norland

He played despite being the youngest person on his street team and continued to play and compete with guys in high school or older. His street team would play against other neighbor hoods, sometimes catching the bus to some of Miami’s roughest neighborhoods just to

play tackle football. Once he got to high school playing organized football became a second thought. “ I really didn’t want to play, I had been told I couldn’t for the last four years.” After playing in street games and getting notoriety for his play, he was told by Michael Daniels, a friend and classmate that he should come play JV. After one practice Najeh quickly rose to stardom, playing four games of Junior Varsity and then finishing the season on Varsity. “When I moved up to Varsity, I was nervous, but excited. Playing anything just to get on the field was my mentality.”

Najeh’s high school career was filled with accolades, rewards and triumphs that contributed to bringing Miami Central back to it’s glory, ranging from a 0-10 season as a freshmen to a 9-1 senior year. Rushing for over 3000 yards and 30 touchdowns, which 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns came his senior year.

Graduating highschool with a 3.9 Najeh chose the University of Miami, a hometown favorite over Florida State, Florida U, New Mexico and Illonios. “I knew I was going to Miami when coach Davis and coach Shannon came to recruit me. But New Mexico aggies told me they were interested in all of us. So me and my teammnates took a trip out to New Mexico. But the deal fell through when one of them didn’t pass the A.C.T. and the other one decided to go to a divison two school.” Coach Shannon, a then Miami University linebacker coach, was classmates with with Najeh’s god mother Nancy Clayton. In 1997, Miami had over 6 backs on their roster and Najeh was challenged to be better by retired running back coach Don Sodlinger. “He told me, and I qoute in his words, ‘Hey bro, you come here you gon’ have to fucking compete bro!’ And man was it a challenge. I had other choices but that conversation made me come to Miami. I could have went to Florida State, and that year, Rock Preston had gotten suspended and Warrick Dunn had just graduated so there were no backs on the roster.” Najeh was red-shirted his freshmen year, as he watched fellow freshemen Santanna Moss , Dan Morgan , and Reggie Wanye. “My red-shirt freshmen year, my first carry will be one I will remember for along time. EJ (Edgerrin James) told me that coach Sod wanted me to go in. I grabbed my helmet and ran on the field. James Jackson was already in the game so they pulled him out. My first carry was a 12 lead that I broke two tackles and cut back for about 15 or 20 yards. Coach Sod met me on the sideline where I ran out of bounds. It seemed he was more mad at me for running out of bounds than going in when I wasn’t suppose to. I guess he looked at that as me chomping at the bait!” That year najeh finished third on highest in rushing yards with an average of 5.7 ypc. Najeh went on to challenge James Jackson for the starting spot the next year,

and had won until he tore his ACL and LCL in the KICKOFF CLASSIC against Ohio State. Finishing that game in the third quarter with 13 carries and 84 yards. Spending the rest of the season at home, Najeh’s work effort grew tremendously. “I pushed myself to the limits three times a day: I rehabed in the morning , worked out at lunch, and rehabed once more during practice. I needed to come back stronger and faster.” Najeh finish up at Miami with a come back player of year award, and Team Captain of the 2001 National Champion. Despite playing in the natioanl champtionship game. Due to an injury that incured two weeks earlier.

Najeh found his stock had fell, because of the injury. But continued to work on honing his skill being drafted, as a fullback and playing fullback are two different things. Najeh says “ I was drafted as a fullback to the Green Bay Packers in the 4 th round I will never forget that phone call from Coach Sherman. They lined me up at fullback on Monday and Wednesday I was a swing back playing both half back and full back. That following Monday I was completing for the number two spot at tailback behind Ahman Green. “ Making the best out of every situation Najeh took the opportunity to play tail back again. As a second chance at glory rushing for 84 yards on 12 carries in his rookie year. He later shared a Monday night horse trailer with Brett Farve 200th game and Najeh’s impressive 178 yards on 19 carries. In 2003 najeh found himself 4 returns short of a Pro bowl appearance averaging 31.6 yards on 16 returns. Finishing his contract in Green bay, Najeh sign with the Pittsburgh in 2006. On his first carrier as a Steelers he took a lead play 48 yards. Finish that game with 12 carries 77 yards. Najeh best season as a pro came in 2007 where he rushed for 499 yards, over 200 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns.

najeh davenport  

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