I can’t call myself a 49’er fanatic (I don’t have the banners, tattoos or Big Heads), but I’m a loyal and dedicated fan and I love the 49’ers! I’ve been lucky enough to cheer on some of the best to ever play the game: Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Roger Craig, Merton Hanks, Bryant Young, Patrick Willis, The Smith “Brothers”, Frank Gore, and of course the “Duke” Vernon Davis. So, when I found out that we were going to be collaborating with Tight End Vernon Davis, I was stoked, and then when the collaboration turned out to be for a good cause and would positively influence lives, I was ecstatic!
Vernon was the first Tight End drafted in the 2006 draft, a perfect compliment to Alex Smith in the new 49’er offense ushering us into the new era of 49’er dominance!! Well…not quite. The first couple years were rocky for Vernon and the Niners to say the least, but with Mike Singletary as coach, The Duke was able to find his way and become a captain of the team, the #1 receiving threat on offense, and an NFL success story. I recently watched an interview with Vernon on ESPN, and while his statistical numbers are slightly down this year, it’s in large part to him becoming a team player. As he said, and I paraphrase here, “There is a lot more to being a Tight End than just catching the ball!” I still think Vernon is our #1 receiving threat on offense (see NFC Championship game against ATL last week) and now what makes him extra special is that he does everything, not just catch. He is a solid blocker, a great decoy, has hands like sticky fly paper and is a team leader and positive presence on the sideline and inside the locker room, two traits that you can’t quantify with statistics but which make a team exponentially stronger.
It has been an honor to work with Vernon Davis, and even though I wasn’t able to personally meet him, I wear our collab shirt every Sunday in hopes that I can bring a little bit of extra luck to him and the team (I’m extremely superstitious). The greatest part of this collaboration is not that it’s Vernon Davis’ artwork superimposed on his photo (he was a fine arts major at University of Maryland) and not that the t-shirts look great, but it’s the fact that all profits are being donated to a good cause. T-Shirts have been given to needy children in Africa and money donated to Young Audiences Arts for Learning, 100% of total profits were donated back to help children. Can you think of a better cause?
So when you’re watching the game this Sunday, remember that Vernon is a badass. He does what needs to be done and he does it right. Not only can he dominate and kick ass on the football field, but he can realize positive endeavors off the field and has helped touch the lives of hundreds if not thousands of children through this project. If nothing greater, he has made a bigger fan out of me and I still hope to meet him one day so I can thank him for all that he’s done for the 49’er franchise and for the children of the world. GO NINERS!!!