Vernon Davis has had a wild and crazy ride to the Super Bowl. While the sports world is zeroed in on Ray Lewis’ story of redemption, Davis’ story is not only less controversial but it’s a more relevant tale of turning your career around.
In 2008, when Mike Singletary took over as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, one of the first things he did was bench Davis in the middle of a game for basically being selfish. Singletary thought Davis was putting himself above the team, so he booted him off the field and barred him from returning for the duration of the game.
Davis said he cried and demanded a trade, and when Singletary visibly didn’t care about a man who’s only looking out for himself, Davis’ life changed. At the time, Davis hated Singletary, but today he wishes he would have been given a chance to thank him before Singletary was fired.
“I remember the very first time he kicked me off the field. Tears were shed. I told him, ‘I want to be traded Coach.’ He said, ‘OK. I’ll find another team for you.’ That moment, it started to click for me. It made me a better man, a better teammate and a better leader for my team. It helped me become the player I am today,” Davis said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “I never really had an opportunity to tell him how much it meant to me. By the time I looked up, he was gone. That fast. I am very grateful.”
Ray Lewis’ story is an anomaly when it comes to NFL redemption stories. While players routinely get into trouble off the field, we haven’t had a high profile murder case since then where a player’s career was nearly ruined. Michael Vick would be the closest example to this, but with Davis’ tale, there seems to be far more players today that are self centered like he was.
So when you’re reflecting on story-lines for the Super Bowl, lets not forget Davis’ road and remember that even if you don’t stand trial or throw your career into jeopardy off the field, you can still do so on it.