Former NFL star Vernon Davis was flagged by a different type of referee after his first dance on Dancing With The Stars. The Super Bowl-winning tight end had a point docked from judge Carrie Ann Inaba's score thanks to a lift he did with Peta Murgatroyd. Davis still got one of the better early dances on the night though, earning a 17/30 from the judges.
Davis and Murgatroyd danced the Foxtrot to John Legend's "All of Me." At first, it seemed like he was going to get a really high score from Inaba, who was impressed right off the bat. She praised his stage presence, and ability to mix tenderness and elegance with a "masculine control." However, Inaba said he still had a "little more to learn" because Murgatroyd's feet lifted a bit when he dragged her. Inaba docked a point for the mistake and gave him five points.
The other judges, Derk Hough and Bruno Tonioli were impressed with his performance. They both gave him 6s, each. Tonioli said the dancers' chemistry was "sizzling" and predicted he would need an ice bucket when they dance the rumba later this season. After the judges gave their notes, host Tyra Banks asked Davis if he felt extra pressure to do well on the show, since football players have a history of winning. "Oh yeah, I feel the pressure. I just try to relax and stay calm," he said with a laugh.
Davis, 36, played for the San Francisco 49ers from 2006 to 2015. He was traded to the Denver Broncos, where he won Super Bowl 50 after the 2015 season. He signed with the Washington Redskins in 2016 and retired in 2019. He retired with two Pro Bowl appearances, 63 receiving touchdowns and 7,562 receiving yards.
"Just the simple wear and tear over time. Especially those concussions," Davis said in an interview last year when asked why he was retiring. "They can take a toll on you in the long haul. It's just better safe than sorry. But if it wasn't for that throughout the course of time, then I probably would have played for the next five years, at least. But I feel like I made a great decision as I move forward."
DWTS has a long history with football players competing for the mirror ball trophy. Michael Sam, Doug Flutie, Antonio Brown, Ray Lewis, and Terrell Owens have all competed on the show. Hines Ward, Rashad Jennings and Donald Driver won the show.