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Former NIU receiver Britt Davis looking to catch on with Patriots

ARLINGTON TX - AUGUST 11:  Britt Davis #17 Denver Broncos Cowboys Stadium August 11 2011 ArlingtTexas.  (Phoby Ronald

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 11: Britt Davis #17 of the Denver Broncos at Cowboys Stadium on August 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Britt Davis

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Updated: July 26, 2012 6:17AM

New England Patriots
receivers coach Chad O’Shea knows how to be diplomatic.

When asked about Broadview native Britt Davis’
chances of making the
Patriots’ roster, O’Shea turned what could have been a negative answer into a positive one.

‘‘I think Britt is in a roster situation where we have a lot of veteran depth, and he’s learning from those guys every day,’’ O’Shea said. ‘‘It’s very competitive in making this roster, but that’s why he’s here. I think he’s unique to a lot of players at this
position because he does have size [6-3, 205 pounds]. It’s an advantage.’’

Davis, who played at
Riverside-Brookfield and Northern Illinois, is competing for a spot in a Patriots receiving corps that features former Illinois standout Brandon Lloyd and perennial Pro Bowl pick Wes Welker. Former Northwestern star Jeremy Ebert also is vying for a spot.

The Patriots cut Chad Ochocinco this month, which might have made Davis’ road a little easier. But Davis isn’t naïve to the ways of the NFL, considering his travels since leaving NIU.

The New York Jets signed Davis as an undrafted free agent in 2009 but waived him after the preseason before re-signing him to the practice squad. Davis then signed with the Denver Broncos in 2010 but was cut in September 2011 without catching a pass. He signed with the
Patriots on Feb. 7.

‘‘It’s been an uphill battle every year, but it is everything that I expected,’’ Davis said. ‘‘Yes, it’s always pressure. This is the highest level of football, and the pressure put on yourself shouldn’t have to get any higher.

‘‘I’m a bigger guy, and that’s really it. I’m not a numbers guy. I just go out and do my job. At the end of the day, I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff.’’

Davis, 26, was fortunate enough to play high school and college football with his older brother Brandon, who was a tight end at NIU. Growing up, though, the brothers were more into basketball than football.

‘‘We played together at Northern for four of his five years there,’’ Brandon Davis said. ‘‘There’s too many memories I have, but just the overall experience of our success in high school and college. How many guys get to do that with their brother?’’

Britt Davis might have been a late bloomer. He said he didn’t start playing organized football until he was a high school freshman and, until that point, wanted to play in the NBA. The NFL wasn’t even on his radar.

‘‘But as soon as I put those pads on, I thought I could do it,’’ Davis said.

Even though Brandon
Davis is out of athletics now — he works for a medical practice — he’s aware of the stress his brother is under to make the Patriots. All he wants is for his brother to have fun while chasing the dream.

‘‘I give him positive
encouragement, but I also try to give him his space,’’ Brandon Davis said. ‘‘He has to battle every year, but I want him to have fun out there and not let the situation or moment get to him.’’

But what will happen if Davis doesn’t make the
Patriots’ roster?

‘‘Football is my A, B and C plan,’’ he said. ‘‘But I eventually plan on going to law school. I don’t necessarily want to practice law, but I’d like to open my own sports agency.’’

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