Vernon Davis put together a strong NFL career, spending 14 seasons with three different teams. But it was a little surprising to see the former tight end retire right before Super Bowl LIV in February 2020. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Davis explained why calling it a career in the NFL was the right move.
"I was very comfortable with the decision to retire," Davis said to PopCulture. "I thought about it, and I was like, gosh, is this something that I really want to do? Then I thought about the concussions that I sustained. And that's really the real reason that I walked away, because of the concussion. The last concussion that I had, I had light sensitivity for quite some time, and I was like, once I recover from this, do I really want to go back and make things worse? So I just walked away."
Davis was with the Washington Football Team when he retired. The last concussion, as Davis alluded to, happened during the 2019 season. He played in four games that year and notched 10 receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown. At that point in his career, Davis had success from a team standpoint and individually. He won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in 2015, he was named to the Pro Bowl twice with the San Francisco 49ers and was named to the All-Pro second team as a member of the 49ers in 2013.
"I have the rest of my life to live, and football was just a step," Davis stated. "It's a vehicle, one vehicle. Then there's so many other vehicles after football to get you to where you're trying to go in life, whatever that is. But I really thought about it. I was like, hey, I'm going to move on to the next thing, which is being creative, from a television standpoint. Just being creative, just content projects, you name it."
Injuries took a toll on Davis at the end of his NFL career. And the interesting thing is the league has now expanded the season to 17 games, which has led to players speaking out against it. Davis believes that 17 games is too many for NFL players and believes that 16, which teams were playing before the 2021 season, is a lot.
"Look, this is a brutal sport, Davis explained. "As you can see, and as you know, guys, they're barely making it to the postseason. You know what I mean? It's one of those things; it's just... Does it make sense to add it? Why are we adding 17 games when there's already enough? Maybe, if you're changing the rules of the game, then I'll say, hey, let me look at it. Maybe it makes sense. Like, how are you making... is it less contact? What are you changing to justify these 17 games?"