Broncos TE Vernon Davis on his move from San Francisco to Denver - Sports Illustrated

Huddle Up: A conversation with Denver Broncos TE Vernon Davis

Vernon Davis found himself traded mid-season, he knew that he was in for a challenge to learn a new playbook and mesh with new teammates (which, to his surprise, came more easily than expected). He describes his recent experiences in this Q&A.
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On Nov. 2, Vernon Davis got a phone call that instantly changed the trajectory of his season. Davis was traded from the last place San Francisco 49ers to the first place Denver Broncos.

Davis was a successful member of the 49ers for ten years, reaching 13 touchdowns twice, and catching an improbable touchdown deep in the fourth quarter of a thrilling divisional win against the Saints in the 2012 playoffs. The “Vernon Post” play is now etched in San Francisco lore.

Davis’s new career as a Bronco is a blank easel—Denver has a deep TE corps. Though a six catch, 68-yard performance against the Bears last week is promising.

Through his partnership with Old Spice, I caught up this week with Vernon to discuss his instant chemistry with Broncos QB Brock Osweiler, what the future holds for the 49ers and how being an artist keeps him grounded.

Melissa Jacobs:What was your first reaction when you found out you were traded to Denver?

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Vernon Davis: The only thing I could think about was that Denver was winning and doing really well. Peyton Manning was here and this would be a great opportunity to add to my career, but it was bittersweet because I spent my tenure in San Francisco, and to just get up and leave and go somewhere else was tough on me. I took a few days, maybe a week, to really calm myself and just get my mind ready and realize what really just happened. It all seemed surreal for a moment, but I was able to come out of it. Now I’m in a place where everything is working the way it should and the way I expected it. I’m just having a great time.

MJ:What’s it like to join a new team in season? You don’t just teleport yourself into a Broncos jersey.

VD: It’s extremely tough. Right now I’m just getting acclimated to everything and trying to understand their schedule and meetings, and just becoming more familiar with the city of Denver.

MJ:You just had your most productive game of the season with Brock Osweiler under center. You’re still relatively new. He made his first start. How did you two have such good early chemistry?

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VD: The moment I walked into the Broncos facility, the first person I met was Brock. He came up to me and said, “Hey, I’m Brock Osweiler and I just wanted to introduce myself.” I thought that was awesome. Then he followed up and said, “Hey Vernon, we’re doing dinner Thursday night, you should come along.” So I went out and got the chance to really know who Brock was and we just connected right there. It was pretty amazing. Then at practice, Brock would take over for Peyton some days if Peyton wanted to rest his arm. When he stepped in to take over, I was not surprised because I already knew he was going to be confident. And we had the chemistry that was built the day I got here. He’s just a unique individual. He’s very talented.

MJ:You’ve probably heard that some people out there have an opinion about the future of your QB position. How are you guys approaching it—are you preparing for Manning to return?

VD: It’s pretty much not our decision. It’s up to the coaches and general manager. We’ll support whatever decision they make.

MJ:Back to your old home for a second. It’s obviously a down year. How do you feel about how everything has fallen to pieces in San Francisco in such a short period of time?

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VD: Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where things aren’t working the way you expected them to work, but one thing I can say is times will get better. It may not seem like it at the moment. I had a chance to talk to some of my old teammates not too long ago, and I stressed to them that they need to keep working hard because things will turn around. You have to be optimistic and put out positive energy.

MJ:What do you think the future holds for Colin Kaepernick?

VD: I know Colin very well, and I know he is very ambitious and a hard worker, dedicated to his craft. I think he’s going to find a way to get better at the quarterback position. He’s going to come back and shock everyone.

MJ:Will he be a Niner next year?

VD: I’m not sure. Being familiar with how this business works, I can’t really say.

MJ:You’re known as an artist and quite a renaissance man in general. How important is it have varied interests while playing a sport as intense as professional football?

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VD: For me, I think there’s no limit to the things you can do if you put your mind to it. I just have to indulge myself in a variety of things, especially when it comes to art. I feel like there’s always room to grow. I’m always tough on myself when it comes to making sure I’m always busy. A lot of people tell me to slow down and rest. But I feel like there’s no time to rest. Tomorrow’s never promised.

MJ:What are you painting these days?

VD: You know, my studio and all my art is back in San Francisco. So I’m just really focusing on learning this playbook so I can help the Denver Broncos best I can.

MJ:I know you’re chatting with me to plug Old Spice and its “Smellmitment “campaign. Tell me your favorite Old Spice smell.

VD: My favorite Old Spice scent is probably Aqua Reef.

MJ:Why’s that?

VD: It’s something about that one that I really love. It smells really good, especially the original. I’ve been using that for quite some time now. I think I was introduced to that fragrance by my grandfather.