EXCLUSIVE: Redskins’ Vernon Davis talks Alex Smith injury, Rob Gronkowski’s legacy, Timeless supplements, new movie, and Tom Brady
At 35, veteran tight end Vernon Davis of the Washington Redskins is still going strong. Along with an undying passion to keep playing in the NFL, Davis also has an entrepreneurial spirit that keeps him just as busy off the field as he is on it.
The one-time Super Bowl champion spoke with ClutchPoints ahead of Super Bowl 53 to talk about a number of different topics including his new supplement company, Timeless. Davis details the reasoning behind choosing to create his own supplements as well a new movie he’s working on co-starring with Ron Pearlman and Frank Grillo.
The two-time Pro Bowler also talks about Tom Brady’s incredible run after 40, Rob Gronkowski’s legacy as one of the league’s best tight ends, and the devastating injury to his Redskins teammate, Alex Smith.
Ryan Ward: You started a brand-new supplement company, Timeless. Talk about the new company and why you decided to go that route?
Vernon Davis: Yeah. Timeless Sports Nutrition. So basically, I’ve always throughout my life wanted to create my own brand of supplements because I was with so many different companies in the past. Great companies that I learned a lot from, but what I always wanted to do was to be able to manipulate the different supplements so that I could make them stronger or take out and make them less than what they are, and I say that because I find that especially in athletes.
Sometimes we need more of different things and to be able to test those supplements on myself and my teammates; it’s been quite a journey and a great ride. It’s something that I’m truly into because I know that the reason that I’ve been playing this game as long as I’ve been playing is because I’ve been able to take care of myself and really do the best I can as far as the nutritional standpoint goes.
RW: At 35, how difficult is it to stay at the top of your game in the NFL and how do these supplements help with that?
VD: Well, I think at 35 it’s very difficult to say on top of your game. It depends on what you do and how you go about your day and how you take care of yourself. Nutrition is one of the key components to being able to play this game and being able to create that longevity that every athlete is looking for, and I noticed that about two years ago.
I went out to OTAs, and I wasn’t taking any amino acids, protein. I just wanted to see the effects of what happened to my body, and it had a major impact. I would come in so sore. I just needed more, so then I started to get back on the amino acids and protein after that experience. It made a world of a difference.
And then, I met this guy named Jamie, who is also my business partner. We started to come together and put these supplements together. I found that it was even more effective as far as the usage I was getting out of the supplements that we were putting together, and that’s when I started to say, ‘Hey, I can actually make a line out of this stuff because this stuff really works.’ So I want to give the people something authentic. Something that’s totally transparent. Something that I rely on. Something that has helped me make it this far at this point in my career.
RW: Tom Brady, at 41, is another player still playing at a high level in the NFL. Have you been amazed by what he’s been able to do and is that a testament to supplements like Timeless and taking care of your body?
VD: I’m not amazed by the accolades he’s been able to take on. I know exactly what he’s doing because I do it. Mentally, physically from a nutrient level. I know exactly what he’s doing, so I can attest to all of that. It’s not surprising to me at all.
RW: Do you believe Brady he’s the greatest quarterback and/or player in NFL history? How’s he compare to some of the great quarterbacks you’ve played with like Peyton Manning?
VD: Tom Brady is the ideal quarterback. He is the best to ever play this game. You look at his statistics. You look at everything he’s been able to do in this game, especially at the level he’s done it. It’s almost as if he’d just gotten into the NFL. He’s playing at that level. He’s such a tremendous player, and I’m sure he’s a better person as well, but he is everything you look for in a quarterback and everything you wish had. I applaud him on his effort to be that, and I just wish him the best. It’s just awesome to see him at this level at this age.
RW: Do you believe that Alex Smith who suffered a career-threatening injury this year that he can bounce back from the injury he had with the use of something like your supplements?
VD: Alex, at this point, it’s going to be mental for him. The injury he suffered is unparallel. It’s just a rare injury. You don’t see those often, so the way it happened; it’s going to take some time. It’s going to take a lot of time. He just has to decide if he wants to continue to go back out there and play this game.
A bone injury like that, anything that he can do, even if it’s using my supplements or anything I can mimic and create to help him, I’m sure we can do a great job with the formulas that we have, but it is going to take some time and some work for him to be able to get back, but I’m sure it can contribute to him getting back and getting back healthy.
RW: So you do think Smith will bounce back from this injury?
VD: I do. I believe he’ll bounce back for sure.
RW: What do you think of the controversial no-call in the NFC Championship Game?
VD: Time after time we see things like this happen where officials don’t make the right call. It happens. In my opinion, I can think it’s a bad call, and some people might think it’s a good call. There are different perspectives out there, but if it is the wrong call, I feel like the NFL needs to come together and have more meetings with officials and make sure they’re out there calling the right calls because it would be upsetting to know that they made the wrong call. Especially for a team that had an opportunity to win this game, but their season ended just because an official made a wrong call. That would be horrifying.
RW: What did you think in the moment when this happened?
VD: In the moment, I just thought that’s tough. That’s a tough situation. I’ve been playing football for so long it’s just like all I can really say is that’s tough.
RW: What do you think about Rob Gronkowski? Do you think this is his last game and where does he stand among the great tight ends in NFL history?
VD: I’m not quite sure if this is Rob Gronkowski’s last game. He and I share the same manager, so we had an opportunity to talk about that.
Not quite sure, but even if he did retire, I mean, he’s been playing for a long time, I don’t want to see him go out just yet, but what can you say, if the guy wants to leave this game then there’s nothing you can do about it.
The career he’s had there are few and far between. You don’t just come out and have a career like that. I mean, this guy is a for sure Hall of Famer. What he’s been able to do and the numbers he’s put up and just the consistency he’s had over these years. He’s definitely top-five tight end of all time for sure.
RW: You’re currently working on a movie right now, correct?
VD: Yeah. The movie is called, “Hell on the Border.”
“Hell on the Border” is a biopic on the true story of Bass Reeves, the first black Deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River. I play the role of Columbus Johnson.
We’re shooting the movie in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s expected to be released at the end of the year. Bass Reeves is traveling. As he’s traveling along the Mississippi River, he and another deputy take money from a bunch of bad guys and as they’re running from these bad guys, Bass and Charlie Storm, played by Ron Pearlman, intervenes. Kind of goes after the bad guys to help save Columbus and the rest of his crew he’s with who’s being pulled by horses on a wagon.
So basically, Columbus Johnson and the rest of his crew they’ve been taking people from the South to this fertile land in Kansas. Just getting them out of the South because the South is supposed to be bad. They want to get them to this land.
RW: Are you going to pursue a career in acting once your playing days are over?
VD: Oh yeah, for sure! It’s a lot of fun, and the great thing about it is that being athletic I can do my own stunts. I pulled off one of my own stunts in this movie.
RW: What’s your favorite sports movie of all time? And is there a role you’d love to play in the future?
VD: I’m going to have to say “Rocky.” That was a great movie, man. Very inspirational movie. A lot of excitement in that movie. Any time I watch a good movie that’s all about competing and being the best you can be and watching them start from the lowest point and going all the way up to the climax, it’s just pretty awesome.
RW: How much longer are you planning to play in the NFL?
VD: I’m not sure. I’m just taking it one day at a time. One day at a time.
Right now, the way I feel, I feel better than I’ve felt since I first walked in.