Vernon Davis

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Familiar faces make headlines for the Redskins and the Panthers in Week 6

Familiar faces make headlines for the Redskins and the Panthers in Week 6

In Week 6, with the Washington Redskins hosting the Carolina Panthers, plenty of players were familiar with each other.

Former Redskins were playing for the Panthers. Former Panthers were playing for the Redskins. And plenty of Maryland Terrapins made storylines. 

Josh Norman was playing against his former team for only the second time.

Graham Gano, who holds both the longest field goal record for both the Redskins and the Panthers, saw his former employer again. 

Oh and four different Terps, with College Park less than 20 miles away, made key plays from beginning to end. 

Five of the six players had a significant impact on the outcome of the game. 

Norman had his biggest game in quite a while for the Redskins. A first-quarter interception off a tipped ball and a forced fumble paired with a recovery gave Norman two of the Redskins' three takeaways. In addition, the former All-Pro responded to the criticism that many were giving him this past week.

Last week Gano connected on an NFL record-tying 63-yard field goal as time expired against the Giants. This week he missed an extra-point to rapidly change the pace of the game in the second quarter. Familiar with the turf at FedEx Field Gano only got one more chance, making a 32-yarder.

Vernon Davis, a former tight end for Maryland, gave the Redskins their first touchdown of the afternoon. Afterward, he chose the wrong section of the crowd to go jumping into.

That touchdown was set up by one of two fumbles by D.J. Moore. The rookie did not have a good game coming back to his college home. Both of his fumbles led to 10 points for the Redskins.

Torrey Smith was the other Terps wide receiver on the Panthers roster. He made it in for six and a two-point conversion. Most of his production though came in a big fourth-quarter drive for Carolina. 

Big days in what was sure to be an emotional one for all of the players involved. 

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Vernon Davis greeted by Panthers fans after jumping into stands

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Vernon Davis greeted by Panthers fans after jumping into stands

After scoring a first-quarter touchdown to give the Redskins an early lead over the Panthers, Vernon Davis jumped into the stands, expecting to celebrate with Redskins fans.

Instead, he found himself in the bottom of the seats, rather than celebrating with Redskins fans, as Davis jumped into a crowd of Panthers fans.

The Panthers fans looked shocked to see Davis jumping straight into them. 

The touchdown was Davis' first of the season, and also his first touchdown catch from quarterback Alex Smith since Week 3 of the 2012 season.

The two of them were teammates in San Francisco from 2006-2012, and connected on 34 total touchdowns during that time.

The 22-yard touchdown pass put the Redskins up 7-0 early in the first quarter at FedEx Field.

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Vernon Davis writes a letter to the Maryland Terrapins football team in the Players' Tribune

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Vernon Davis writes a letter to the Maryland Terrapins football team in the Players' Tribune

The 2018 Maryland football team was faced with a hardship that no team ever dreams of going through. Having to overcome the pain of losing their teammate Jordan McNair, then taking the field in competition is an obstacle that no one understands until they face it themselves.

And former Maryland Terrapin Vernon Davis wants the team to know how proud he is of them.

Davis, a current tight end for the Washington Redskins, took to the Players' Tribune to write to the Maryland football team.

He called the touching letter, 'For Jordan'.

In the piece he wrote: 

Ever since the final whistle of that truly incredible Week 1 victory over Texas, I’ve found myself thinking about you guys a lot — about what you all must be going through in dealing with the loss of your teammate Jordan McNair just three months ago, and how difficult everything must be. Eventually, over the past few weeks, I got to the point where I decided that I wanted to sit down and write something to the team.

There are a bunch of things I want to say here. But the most important one, by far, is just to let you all know that….

I couldn’t be more proud of you guys.

Davis continued, talking about their emotional victory over the Texas Longhorns

Losing a teammate, a brother, the way that the Maryland football family lost Jordan this past summer was an unspeakably sad tragedy. I can only imagine the level of grief and heartache that each and every one of you has experienced. And after going through what you have, no one would’ve faulted you if you didn’t win a single game this year — at least not those of us who understand grief, and pain, and loss.

I mean, you could’ve lost 100 to nothing in that opening game at FedEx Field against the Longhorns on September 1 and … we would’ve understood.

But, well, that’s not what happened.

Instead, on that afternoon, even as you continued to hurt and mourn, you found in your sport the opportunity to create a positive, life-affirming moment.

At the same time, you also showed me, once again, just how special this university is to me. And why, after all these years, I still love Maryland with all my heart.

Playing three years with Maryland, Davis caught nine touchdowns with 1,371 yards. Because of his instant impact and averaging 16.5 yards per catch, he decided to forgo his senior season and head to the NFL. In 2006, he was drafted No. 6 overall by the San Francisco 49ers.

He concluded: 

...you’ve all already shown anyone paying attention the strength and heart and will of this team. So I have no doubt that you’re going to bounce back and finish the season strong. And as you’re going about that journey, you all — each and every one of you — need to know that it’s not just me who is proud of you.

You guys are inspiring people worldwide — Terp alums, for sure, but also just people who know what you’re going through and realize the fortitude that it takes to keep moving forward in the face of it all.

We see you. We’re proud of you. And … we believe in you.

So just keep doing the best you can. Stay together. Play the game with love. And always, no matter what, keep Jordan in your heart.

Because I’m pretty sure he’s proud of you, too.

Once a Terp, always a Terp,

Vernon

To read the 'For Jordan' letter in its entirety on the Players' Tribune, click here.

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