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Redskins RB's thrill? Meeting R&B star

By DARRELL FRY

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 28, 2001


R&B singer R. Kelly had no idea he was about to meet his biggest fan Friday night. Kelly was playing in a Super Bowl celebrity basketball tournament at the University of Tampa when his biggest fan approached him before the game.

Big, as in 6 feet and 234 pounds. Big, as in Redskins star running back Stephen Davis.

"I've met a lot of people this week," Davis said, "but I really liked meeting him. I have all his CDs."

The NFL players have been providing many memorable moments and enjoying a few themselves.

Super Bowl week, the untameable monster that it can be, is still new to Davis. This is only his second one, so he has been soaking up as much of it as possible. At least, as much as his wife will allow him.

"We've just been having fun. You come down here and you get to meet a lot of guys, a lot of guys you play against, and get away from it all and just have fun."

Davis' Super Bowl week started Jan. 21. Since arriving, he has been busy every day, playing golf, doing charity work, going to parties and attending autograph sessions like the one Saturday afternoon at the NFL Players Party at the Cuban Club in Ybor City.

The event was packed with players, including stars Kurt Warner, Jerome Bettis, Derrick Brooks and Charlie Batch. Davis and the others autographed everything in sight and played basketball, pool and video games with fans.

"All of it has been fun," Davis said.

But not all of Super Bowl week has been particularly enjoyable for Davis. He played golf for the first time Wednesday. He was talked into playing in an NFL players tournament at MacDill Air Force Base and it was obvious from the start he was in over his head.

So, how many times did he swing and miss the ball completely?

"You mean, how many times did I hit it?" he joked. "Man, I think I only hit the ball five times all day."

He doesn't remember what his team's score was, so don't ask him. All he will tell you is it wasn't pretty. "Everybody in our group was struggling," he said. "The best person we had was this woman. She was pretty good."

His nightlife has been confined mostly to spending time with his wife and hanging out with fellow players. He attended the premiere of the NFL Players Party Friday night and went again Saturday night. He also partied with the locals at Turbulence nightclub and the Garage nightclub Thursday night.

But, for the most part, he has been low-key, staying out of trouble and taking part in mostly league-sponsored events.

He was a coach in the celebrity game, which allowed him to meet Kelly as well as R&B singer Brian McKnight and several rap groups. He and Kelly chatted before and after the game, exchanging compliments. Kelly is a sports fan who has admired Davis' play with the Redskins, and Davis thinks Kelly is a musical genius.

"And he's a pretty good basketball player, too," Davis said.

The party at the Cuban Club Saturday night concluded Davis' Super Bowl week. He didn't stick around for today's game. He's in South Carolina with his grandmother. She turns 90 today.

"Hey, you only turn 90 once," he said.

He left satisfied and fulfilled, content that he got the most out of his time here. His first Super Bowl week in Atlanta last year was great, but Davis said this one was better.

"The weather here is much better (than Atlanta), so we got to spend more time doing things outside," he said. "And I got to meet R. Kelly here."

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