New Redskins tight end Vernon Davis says his initial conversation with the coaching staff and GM Scot McCloughan clinched his decision to sign a one-year deal in Washington on Thursday.
In 2006, McCloughan, then an executive with the 49ers, drafted Davis out of Maryland.
“When I talked to Scot McCloughan he basically told me I would be a great fit,” Davis said in an interview on ESPN 980. “He believes in me. He knows that I can come there and contribute and help the team win football games. I’ve been knowing Scot McCloughan for so long. We’ve always been on the same page and been able to cultivate the relationship that we’ve had over the years.”
Asked what role the team envisions for him next season, Davis said: “They want me to come and bring my leadership and just play ball, just play football to the best of my ability, contribute in as many ways as possible and just help out."
Davis, 32, ranked among the NFL's top pass catching tight ends from 2009-2013, but the two-time Pro Bowler's production plummeted the past two years. Last season, he was dealt from the 49ers to the Broncos and, after a decent start in Denver, hardly played during the Super Bowl run.
“I’ve never looked as myself as a blocker, never have,” Davis added about his role with the Redskins. “I’ve always looked at myself as a threat in the passing game. I’ve always had confidence in myself. But, you know what? I block because I want to win. I block because I can’t stand to lose. And if I’m out there, I might as well give it my all, play 100-percent. Give a 110-percent, actually. If I do my part, then I’ll contribute to helping the team win. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about—we’re all playing to get our hands on that Lombardi Trophy.”
Davis adds depth to a capable corps of tight ends that’s led by emerging star Jordan Reed and also includes Niles Paul, Derek Carrier, Logan Paulsen and Marcel Jensen. Paul and Carrier are rehabbing from significant ankle and knee injuries, respectively, while Paulsen has been cleared to return after missing the 2015 season with turf toe. So Davis figures to get plenty of quality reps during OTAs.
How and where exactly Davis fits into the puzzle might not be clear until it’s known which tight ends are healthy, but the Washington, D.C. native already knows this much: he’s excited to join his hometown team, a club he considers to be on the rise.
“As soon as I met the coaches and the rest of the staff, I said this is a group right here that I could really work with, that I feel really, really comfortable with and I can do a lot of great things over here as far as helping the team win, getting to the playoffs and getting a championship,” Davis said. “I feel like this is a young group, a good group of guys who want to win. Last year, we could all see that these guys were fighting, fighting to win and advance in the playoffs.”