49ers TE Vernon Davis keeping busy during lockout
Vernon Davis has been so busy as a humanitarian during the
offseason, it’s a wonder he can remember he’s an NFL star.
San Francisco’s star tight end does regularly think about the
lockout, wondering when his football routine might return to
normal. For now, he is going about his usual workout schedule and
preparing as if this were any other year.
He has a bunch of other activities on his schedule, too. He has
even tried his hand at acting.
In March, Davis and his younger brother, Dolphins cornerback
Vontae Davis, spent 10 days helping distribute hearing aids in
Uganda and Rwanda on a trip through Pros for Africa. Fellow NFL
players Adrian Peterson, Bryant McKinnie, Tommie Harris, Santonio
Holmes, Derrick Morgan and Gerald McCoy were among the others who
participated in the humanitarian mission.
”If there wasn’t a lockout, I probably would have taken it
anyway,” Vernon Davis said of the trip. ”It was amazing. It was
breathtaking because you look at these kids who can’t hear anything
and you plug these hearing aids in their ears and all of a sudden
they’re responding. You can’t do anything but be thankful to be
able to help them hear and respond. It brought a lot of emotion.
I’m already an emotional guy.”
Davis is eager to make things right with the 49ers as soon as
possible. He has a new coach in Jim Harbaugh – hired away from
nearby Stanford in January – and high expectations that the
franchise will turn things around.
When they will finally get started, he’s not sure.
”I don’t know, I can’t say,” he said. ”I can’t wait. It kind
of feels like I’m not even playing football. I can still focus on
football and do other things but my main focus is football. You’ve
always got to be prepared.”
Davis thought San Francisco would take a big step last season
and return to the playoffs.
That was certainly the hope and plan after the Niners completed
a perfect preseason and were picked as the preseason favorite to
win the NFC West. Instead, they began 0-5 for their worst start
since losing seven straight to begin a 2-14 season in 1979, in the
late Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh’s first year. San Francisco
finished 6-10, leaving the 49ers without a winning season since
their last trip to the playoffs in 2002.
Davis wants to carry the load. As part of his training regimen,
he has been practicing Bikram yoga – done in a room heated to more
than 100 degrees – twice a week along with his usual plyometrics,
cardio and weight lifting. He typically takes the weekends off to
”Football is my heart and soul. I’d do anything for football,”
he said. ”I’m very serious about the sport.”
He became the highest-paid tight end in NFL history last
September when he signed a five-year contract extension that pays
him $37 million overall, with $34 million guaranteed.
The 27-year-old would like nothing more than to return to being
the dominant playmaker he was in 2009, when he tied Antonio Gates’
NFL record for touchdowns by a tight end with 13 and made his first
Pro Bowl. Last year in his fifth NFL season, Davis still had 56
receptions for 914 yards and seven TDs.
While he is ready for football – whenever that might be – Davis
hasn’t had any real breaks.
He recently tried out for some television acting gigs in New
York and also will hand out his first Vernon Davis Visual Arts
Scholarship next month to San Francisco high school student Sheryl
Quock, a promising fashion designer.
In June, Davis and his brother will host a football and
mentoring clinic at Howard University in their native Washington,
”It means a lot to me, because I know how important it is to go
out and give back and share some of the lessons and just the gifts
that you always wanted as a kid,” Davis said. ”Growing up in a
low-income, poverty area in the inner city of Washington, D.C., I
know what it’s like. When I think of the kids, it touches me in
ways you can’t even imagine.”