Trading Touchdowns for Tangos

Former Terp, Pro Football Player Vernon Davis Tackles New Challenges on ‘Dancing With the Stars’
By Annie Dankelson | Photo courtesy of ABC/LARETTA HOUSTON

After three standout seasons as a Terp, a sixth-overall selection in the 2006 draft, 63 NFL touchdowns, two Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl championship, how hard could a little cha cha be?

On ABC’s choreography-crammed competition show “Dancing With the Stars,” Vernon Davis discovered that it required a lot more than a typical end-zone celebration. While the former tight end won’t be able to add the Mirror Ball Trophy to his collection after his Week 6 elimination, he quickstepped, foxtrotted and tangoed his way to a fresh appreciation for a new kind of competition.

“I did think it would be easy, but it wasn’t. It was one of the toughest things that I’ve ever done,” he says. “I have a totally different level of respect for dancers.”

Rehearsing the routines over and over for hours was a new kind of physical grind, but encouragement along the way helped, whether in tweets from fans (the former 49er, Bronco and Washington player has over a million followers after a 14-year career), messages from former Terp teammates D’Qwell Jackson and Shawne Merriman, or comments from the judges.

“You’re very comfortable with yourself, which actually says a lot,” judge and veteran choreographer Carrie Ann Inaba told Davis after his Week 6 cha cha. “It’s not easy, these movements, to be comfortable. ... But you have an ease about you.”

While it wasn’t enough for a perfect 10 or to take home the title, Davis is still grooving in the entertainment industry. He’s producing and acting in the upcoming films “Red Winter” and “A Message From Brianna,” and has more projects in the pipeline.

“I challenged myself in a way that was totally unexpected,” he says. “Accomplishing that tells me that I can go even further. Football is not the only motivation that I have.”


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