I’m a Vernon Davis fan. Not just him as the football player but also as a human being. I covered the 49ers for five seasons and the final three I got a chance to interact with coaches and players during practices, games and other functions. I wasn’t close to Davis. We kept our relationship professional and I was just fine with that.
I remember during training camp in 2010, a Danish news media outlet flew out two reporters to do a story on the 49ers. They were anxious to talk with Davis because he and then head coach Mike Singletary were paired up to promote the upcoming London game that year. Davis was the biggest name they knew on the 49ers.
When Davis came out to the field to meet with reporters, the Danish reporters started asking him questions. If you’re familiar with the location of the 49ers’ practice facility, you know that it’s near an airport and loud planes frequently fly over the field. Davis heard a plane and stopped talking. He waited for the plane to pass by, knowing that he wanted to make sure these reporters who traveled all this distance got a clear sound bite. He smiled and once the plane passed by, he continued where he left off.
It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it is my favorite moment covering Davis and it had nothing to do with me interviewing him. But it was the perfect example of the kind of man Davis was with the media. Every time he spoke, he always spoke clearly. He thought through his words before speaking. He understood the power of presentation. That fit well with his various passions. He loved to paint and show off his work. He had aspirations to start his own TV show. The man understood how to handle and present himself.
That may be why I took a liking to Davis as the person. In the short brief times I got a chance to meet him, he was courteous, making sure the reporters got what they needed. Even during times when I wasn’t asking him questions, he’d either smile or wave in my direction as I walked back to the media room.
It never seemed that Davis was ever in a bad mood.
When news broke of Davis and Joe Staley having a quarrel about Colin Kaepernick, it didn’t surprise me that Davis would say he didn’t recall such an argument. It may or may not have been true, but Davis once again didn’t want to cause a ruffle in an already thin ice situation. Shortly thereafter, he was traded to Denver.
The 49ers are going south and it made sense for them to move Davis. I think this would have happened regardless if the reported quarrel never happened. It was expected and it’s time to move on.
I’m going to remember the good times I had interviewing him and watching him during practices. He was a pretty special player. My favorite piece I ever wrote during my time on the beat was on him and his redemption against the Saints in the playoffs. And my second favorite is also about him.
For 49ers fans, he will always be loved for that game. In fact, his entire playoff career has been nothing but phenomenal. And even during the dark years, he gave all he could.
I wish him well in Denver. He will be a great asset to the team.
But for one more moment, I’m going to go back in time and enjoy this.