- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 8, 2019

PHILADELPHIA — Vernon Davis reached the end zone and the tears started to flow. The Redskins tight end has scored plenty of touchdowns in his career — 63, to be precise — but none quite like his dazzling first-quarter score in Sunday’s 32-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 35-year-old said he was thinking of his grandfather, Lynwood Smith, who died on Saturday. Growing up in the District, Davis lived with his grandparents for the first 18 years of his life, and his grandfather was a “big influence” who taught him everything he knew, from simple tasks like changing light bulbs and fixing doors to life’s most important lessons.

“He meant everything to me,” Davis said. “He was like my father.”

Speaking to reporters after the game, Davis said he wasn’t able to fully enjoy the touchdown because of the Redskins’ loss. But the play itself was remarkable. After hauling in a short play-action pass from Case Keenum, Davis ran down the sideline, easily jumping in stride would-be-tackler Ronald Darby on the way to a 48-yard score.

Davis, who looked like an Olympic hurdler on the play, wasn’t surprised at his burst of pure athleticism.

“I’ve done it before when I was in San Francisco,” said Davis, who finished with four catches for 59 yards “I’ve done it quite a few times. It’s just something you can’t really think about. You just react. There’s no telling when you can do it. You just react and play ball.”

Davis takes pride in the length of his career. The veteran is entering his 14th season and has played a full 16 games in seven of them. Davis said he takes care of himself and hasn’t had any surgeries. “Knock on wood,” he said.

Despite his age, he’s still a valuable contributor. Against the Eagles, he surpassed Shannon Sharpe to become sixth among tight ends all-time in touchdowns. 

With the Redskins, Davis has played an important role backing up the oft-injured Jordan Reed. The Redskins Sunday were again without Reed, who missed the game with a concussion. Offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell said last week he “loves” having Davis as a weapon because it gives the Redskins a “1a, 1b” option at tight end.

Davis, meanwhile, said he was appreciative he was able to score. He noted that he had yet to lose someone as close to him as his grandfather.

“Despite the loss, I was still able to help them fight,” Davis said. “That’s the biggest part, if you can come out and fight. … I feel like I put up a good fight.”


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