Vernon Davis arrives in London today. He has a photo shoot with GQ UK tomorrow. He hobnobs with high-end NFL clients Thursday night at Wembley Stadium all the while conducting interviews with the BBC, Sky Sports, the London dailies, etc. Ho hum - just another ordinary week in the extraordinary life of the 49ers tight end.
For most Americans, a trip to London would be a life highlight. For Davis, it's a Wednesday. The guy already has represented the U.S. Curling team in Vancouver this year. He's visited the troops in Afghanistan. The 49ers tapped him to help sell their new stadium proposal to Silicon Valley businessmen, he was on an art panel at the de Young Museum and now he's doing a publicity trip for the 49ers' Oct. 31 game at Wembley.
Davis, it seems, has become the 49ers' go-to player not only when they need a touchdown on the field but when they need to sell the team and the league off of it. And why not? He's confidant (just ask him), he's good-looking (just ask him), he's eager to please and he has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy. Patrick Willis may have received a whopping contract extension through 2016 that makes him the face of the franchise this offseason. But it's Davis, whose contract expires after the 2010 season, who has been showing his face around the globe this year. He's not only an offensive MVP, he's a PR MVP.
But Davis' true value to the 49ers isn't that he's a goody goody. It's that he can be a baddy baddy, too. He's the guy that's not afraid to engage in Twitter wars with Cardinals loudmouth Darnell Dockett. He gives and takes a ton of smack talk on the field, but the important thing is that he backs it up. If there's been one overall critique of the 49ers' offense in the last six seasons, it's that it's been filled with choir boys. Davis isn't afraid to get nasty, and he sets a much-needed tone for a 49ers offense that aspires to be intimidators. He's a hellion on the field and an angel off it, and his value to the team keeps going up.
-- Matt Barrows