Redskins tight end Vernon Davis won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos, was selected to two Pro Bowls and was Washington’s nominee for this year’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, but the D.C. native has never received an honor quite like the one he will this week. During a Tuesday celebration at Truesdell Education Campus in Northwest, where Davis used to hurl a football around with his elementary school friends, District Mayor Muriel E. Bowser will declare March 12 “Vernon Davis Day.”
“It’s actually amazing,” Davis said in a phone interview. “It’s great to know I have that many people behind me that support me and believe in everything that I do in the community and in my career. When this time comes around next year, it’ll be like, ‘Wow, it’s Vernon Davis Day.’ This is actually my day. I’m very, very grateful and honored."
Tuesday’s ceremony, which will include a mural unveiling, will begin at 2 p.m. with a proclamation from Bowser.
“We are incredibly proud of Vernon and thankful for all that he has given back to his hometown,” Bowser said in a statement. “Vernon is a tremendous role model for our D.C. kids both on and off the field, encouraging them to work hard and dream big. In recognition of his generosity and commitment to service as a mentor, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, I’m pleased to proclaim March 12 as ‘Vernon Davis Day’ in the District of Columbia.”
Davis, 35, grew up in Petworth and attended Dunbar High School before a standout career at the University of Maryland. He spent the first nine years of his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers and won a Super Bowl with the Broncos after being traded to Denver midway through the 2015 season. Davis signed a one-year deal with the hometown Redskins in 2016 and agreed to a three-year contract with Washington in 2017 that runs through the 2019 season.
Throughout his career, Davis has given back to his community. In 2012, he started the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts to “promote art education and art appreciation among youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.” Last year, Davis donated more than 500 books and spoke to students at six low-income public schools in the D.C. area as part of his “Read 85” campaign. He has also done work with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington.
“Vernon has been a tireless advocate for D.C. Public Schools, and role model for students at Truesdell Education Campus and across the District,” Lewis D. Ferebee, chancellor of D.C. public schools, said in a statement. “I speak for the entire DCPS community when I say thank you for your commitment to our students and I look forward to celebrating Vernon Davis Day for years to come.”
In addition to his philanthropic efforts, Davis is an aspiring entrepreneur and actor. He owns multiple Jamba Juice franchises, launched his own sports supplement company earlier this year and has a part in the upcoming Western thriller “Hell on the Border” by movie director Wes Miller.
Davis will have several family members and friends in attendance at Tuesday’s ceremony, including his grandmother, Adaline Davis, who raised him and his two brothers.
"She was always one of my biggest supporters,” said Davis, who attended the grand opening of Shaquille O’Neal’s namesake restaurant in Los Angeles over the weekend. “She was a motivator, someone who inspired me to do good by other people, and that’s pretty much how I learned how to be a good person.”
Read more on the Redskins: