Growing up as he did in a tough Washington, D.C., neighborhood, San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis had artistic interests and talents that were sidetracked by the pressures and prejudices of the inner city. Davis avoided art classes in high school, because he thought that his classmates would judge him.
"I figured that if I took up art classes, people would look at me differently," Davis recently told Yahoo! Sports. "I wanted to be cool, and I didn't know how to adapt at the time. It's sad, but that's just the way it was."
He got his primary support in life from his grandmother, who raised Davis and his siblings. It wasn't always easy, and Davis once played an entire high school football season in tennis shoes because he didn't want to bother his grandmother about cleats. It was when he went to the University of Maryland that things started to come together for him in a football sense.