Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis said he played in Thursday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts because that's what his brother, who died of cancer Wednesday at age 27, wanted him to do.
Davis told reporters his brother, Titus Davis, was his biggest supporter:
"As he was laying there all he kept telling my sister was to tell me to play, regardless of what happens. He just kept telling me to play, telling me to play throughout the whole process. That's my biggest fan. Since I was a little kid I was always chasing after him and trying to be like him. I wore his number every year to copy him. He thought it was annoying, but I looked up to him tremendously. That was my idol, my hero. I tried to honor him tonight."
Davis led all Titans receivers with five catches for 67 yards in a 34-17 loss to the Colts.
"It was heavy on my mind, every play," he said. "But I just kept thinking this is what he wanted me to do. He wouldn't want me to be sad and sulk and feel sorry for myself. I obviously miss him and wish he was here, but I know he's in a better place and that he was with me today."
Titus Davis played college football at Central Michigan before making brief stops with the Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Chicago Bears during a three-year NFL career that ended in 2017.
Christian Booher of Central Michigan Life noted Davis had been diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma, a rare form of kidney cancer.
"He was so loved and had the brightest smile ever [until] the end," Davis' aunt, Kafayat Timson, said. "He kept us all laughing and strong."
Corey Davis was selected by the Titans with the fifth overall pick in the 2017 draft out of Western Michigan, a MAC rival of Central Michigan.
Tennessee returns to action Nov. 22 when it visits M&T Bank Stadium to take on the Baltimore Ravens.