Vernon Davis says mental toughness was the key to his career resurgence

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In 2015, Vernon Davis didn’t play particularly well in San Francisco, got traded to Denver and didn’t play particularly well there either. That was Davis’s 10th NFL season, and it would have been easy to conclude that it would be his last.

Instead, Davis signed with Washington and has played well two years in a row, and this year he’s averaging a career-high 19.5 yards a catch. Davis said on PFT Live that he had to be mentally tough to hold on through some hard times and find another place where he could contribute.

“There’s so much doubt and you become such a pessimist when you’re in that situation. It’s extremely tough from a mental standpoint. You feel like you’re at the end of your career, maybe you need to hang it up,” Davis said. “You either fight or you give up and I feel like I did a great job of fighting and just staying in there mentally and staying positive.”

The 33-year-old Davis has always been a great physical specimen, but he says he’s better mentally than ever.

“I feel like I’ve gotten stronger mentally, as far as my preparation, the visualization that I put in,” Davis said. “I’ve learned a lot, been through a lot of situations where I had humbling experiences. You go from being that guy to all of a sudden playing a role, and for me at this point, I’m just elated to have a part and be a piece of a puzzle, where I can contribute to helping a team win.”

There’s no doubt that Davis, who is second on the team with 292 receiving yards, is making a big contribution now.

15 responses to “Vernon Davis says mental toughness was the key to his career resurgence

  1. Some of these guys this is all they know how to do. They committed their entire lives to football in order to rise to this level. I will admit I have thought Davis all done in the past especially because he was elite at one point then fell pretty far off. Im happy for him that he has found some extra to extend this part of his career and enjoy some resurgence.

  2. Vernon Davis and mental toughness have only been used in the same sentence by one person – Vernon Davis.

  3. Best of luck VD. Thanks for your contributions to the niners. That harbaufh run was special, too bad we couldn’t finish.

  4. Good for him.
    He looked like a bust early on — couldn’t hold onto the ball.
    But he fought through it and he’s had a hell of a career.
    A great example of where hard work and perseverance can get you.

  5. What an interesting career though. A can’t miss prospect that wavers for a few years. Head coach sits him, publicly dresses him down, he responds. He gets better. Has good years, has some down seasons. Came back in Washington strong. Happy to witness the maturation process in sports. I root for his successes on and off the field.

  6. Anonymous Banker says:
    October 25, 2017 at 10:58 am
    Wow, only took him 4 years to get over that Chancellor hit

    Just went back and watched that hit.

    Still gotta give mad kudos to Davis for going up to get that ball, knowing he just got hung out by Kaepernick and Kam lurking back, waiting.

    Way to go, Kaep.

  7. Leaving the 49ers also helped.

    That dirty hit by Chancellor is the most overrated play of the decade. Yeah it changed Davis … he went on to have his best career year after it.

  8. Davis and the Redskins have a short week to prepare for the Cowboys this week. Will be interesting to see if they are ready for Dallas week and if they are up for the game at 4:25 p.m. Sunday after a tough loss to the Eagles on MNF.

  9. Early in his career with the 49ers, he was very fragile mentally and would often pout and literally cry on the sidelines. He’s had a long career now, so he’s obviously toughened up mentally. Glad to see he’s grown up.

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