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Now The Eldest On The Team, Vernon Davis Continues To Hold A Crucial Role 


After saying it out loud, tight end Vernon Davis caught himself off guard.

"I'm the oldest guy in the locker room now, which is 'whoa,'" Davis said with a laugh. "I've come a long way."

At 34 years old, Davis is the eldest on the roster, just a few months older than quarterback Alex Smith, and yet he enters his third year in Washington as the closest approximation of a sure thing health-wise at the tight end position. It's a different kind of role since the last time he was catching passes from Smith.

"Being here, the guys see that, they know I'm the veteran, they're always coming to me asking about my diet, and how can they do this to get better, so it's good to see that," Davis said at the Redskins Charity Golf Classic.

In his two seasons with the Redskins, Davis has become a reliable part of the offense filling in for tight end Jordan Reed, who has been injured throughout extended stretches. Reed is still recovering from toe surgery, and Davis is looking forward to having him back this year as continues to defy his age and rekindle the connection with his new and familiar quarterback.

"I expected to come in and just play with Jordan, but sometimes things happen and you have to be willing to step up as your number's called," Davis said "So I'll take onus on that and do whatever I can to help this team win."

It's still early into offseason practices, so Davis can't provide too much insight into how his relationship with Smith has gone after not playing together since 2012.

In their seven seasons together, Smith targeted Davis 360 times and the tight end recorded 230 receptions for 2,933 yards and 30 touchdowns. Only Michael Crabtree recorded more than 2,000 yards and 10 touchdowns during Smith's tenure in San Francisco (2,385 yards and 11 touchdowns on 199 receptions).

"Alex is still the same, he hasn't changed one bit," Davis said. "I know he's got better as a player as a person, but overall his personality, his character is still the same, and it's good to see and it's also great to be with him again.

"Right now we're really just getting acclimated, trying to just do all we can to make sure that synergy and camaraderie is there," he added. "But over time, throughout the season for sure, there's going to be some things that I recognize that I did see early on in San Francisco."

Here's photos from the Washington Redskins OTAs practice that took place Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park, presented by Loudoun Economic Development.

Davis believes finding continuity with the offense is a natural progression, especially with someone as experienced as Smith, a 14-year veteran that's already made a switch to a new team before.

"I think with Alex being a leader, coming in a 14-year veteran, it helps with not only the younger guys but the guys that are already here," Davis said. "So Jamison Crowder, we can all learn from him, even though we're all veterans, but to have that presence, and Alex, a guy who can come back from behind, a guy that has longevity, a guy who plays his heart out and knows how to be a leader in the locker room, that's a great thing to have."

With OTAs beginning this week, Davis feels he can provide more leadership and has the years under his belt to know that the next month can go a long way in establishing a stronger rapport and connection with new teammates, on and off the field.

"I think when it comes to cultivating relationships with one another, it happens gradually over time, it's innate," Davis said. "It has to happen because we spend so much time together, and when you spend so much time together in one realm, then guys are becoming more familiar with one another and they're able to feel comfortable around each other, and from there you can just transcend and do great things."