Washington Football Team fans can fondly recall former tight end Vernon Davis catching passes and blocking linebackers on the gridiron. But the former pro bowl football player is now knee-deep in a career on the big screen. He wants to become such an acclaimed actor that he wants his new occupation to outshine his playing career.
"I get a project I like, I read it and I read it and read it and fall in love with it," Davis said in a recent interview with ESPN’s John Keim. “Over time I'll probably show up in so many projects that people will get used to seeing me as an actor and forget about me as a player.”
Now that his path on the silver screen is heating up, Davis has one particular superstar he would like to model his career after Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
"I would love to do some of the same things [The] Rock is doing," Davis said. "I like his work ethic ... I know what I'm doing and where I want to be. I can see it."
Davis notched 122 catches for eight touchdowns in his four seasons in the nation’s capital. He retired from the game after the 2019 campaign as a 35-year-old, and his acting days became the next thing that preoccupied him. Davis has 17 acting credits on IMDb in everything from shorts to television series to films. He’s co-starred in various projects with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Luke Wilson and other titans of the industry.
"Initially when I first met Bruce and I'm on set just watching him, I'm like, 'Wow, this is crazy,'" Davis said. "You feel intimidated a little bit, but after a while you warm up and it's like, 'I've been here before.' It's like walking into the NFL -- you see all these guys you've seen on TV. ... I feel like a rookie coming in watching these guys."
Davis has two movies with Bruce Willis scheduled to be released next February. He will also be cast in six episodes of the BET series The Rich & The Ruthless. He has observed the careers of several athletes-turned-actors and wants to follow in their footsteps, while still maintaining his unique mojo.
“I think about watching Terry Crews and The Rock [Dwayne Johnson] and you see them and you don't think about them as athletes, because you see them in so many different projects. That will probably happen with me,” Davis said on a podcast.
It’s true that dozens of athletes have made their way from the sports world to Hollywood with overall high levels of success. Mike Tyson, Ronda Rousey and LeBron James are some others in that fraternity. Crews even played 16 games in Washington back in 1995 as a defensive end and linebacker. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise if we see Davis’ name on some of the biggest blockbusters down the road.
As for why Davis is pursuing acting so intently, his reasoning is pretty simple. "It's just fun.”