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Role model? Or runway model? Vernon Davis on the catwalk

Jun 5, 2013, 6:27 PM PDT


SAN JOSE — San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis has 4,351 career receiving yards and 40 touchdowns in his seven-year NFL career. He has played in the Super Bowl, he set a single-season touchdown record for tight ends with 13 in 2009, and he hauled in a game-winning touchdown pass from Alex Smith in the 2011-12 playoffs against the Saints that is often referred to as “The Catch III.”

At 29, Davis has done a lot. Yet, even with his pristine physique, he had never walked the catwalk in a fashion show, until Saturday, when he strutted his stuff during the Santana Row Summer Fashion show, a benefit event that helped raise money for the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts.

“To me I’ll just imagine I’m walking out of the tunnel about to play Green Bay,” Davis said before hitting the runway. “It’ll be fun. I’m excited. They’re probably expecting me to do something funny.”

When asked if “something funny” meant falling off the stage into the pool, he smiled and said, “Nice try.” He made it around the stage without incident, and even broke out a few dance moves. It would be natural for an NFL player not to take a fashion show too seriously, but this event meant much more to Davis than style.

Davis owns an art gallery. He paints, takes acting lessons, and even delivered a monologue at a spoken word event on Friday night in San Jose. His reach goes much further than football. Making sure talented artists from underprivileged backgrounds have the tools to succeed is the reason he started his charity.

“It’s in my heart to give back and just share some of the things that I’ve been blessed with,” Davis said. “It touches my heart to be able to give back in so many ways, and this is what today is all about.”

If he has to do something that could be perceived as strange — like walk a catwalk — to help his cause, it’s not going to stop him. And with any luck, being a well-rounded individual will help him be just as unstoppable on the football field.

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