Vernon Davis shaken by brother Vontae’s death: ‘Just don’t know what to make of it’

Vernon Davis is still processing the tragic death of his younger brother Vontae and said in a new interview that he was relying on detectives to figure out the mysterious cause behind the former Colts, Dolphins and Bills corner’s death. 

Vontae had been found unresponsive at his home in Florida and authorities had been investigating his death, though preliminary findings don’t point to any signs of foul play. 

The death shocked the NFL community and Vernon told the Daily Mail that “this thing definitely caught me by surprise.”

Bills cornerback Vontae Davis stretching before practice in 2018. JAMIE GERMANO/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK
Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers stands with his brother Vontae Davis #23 of the Indianapolis Colts following the game at Candlestick Park on September 22, 2013. Getty Images

“I just don’t know what to make of it,” Vernon told the outlet. 

The elder Davis brother also revealed that it appeared that Vontae had slipped or collapsed after he had stepped out of the sauna in the home. 

There appeared to be no signs of a break-in or any items in the home disturbed. 

“I’m leaning on the detectives to figure it out but right now we have no answers,” Vernon said. “They are going to run tests and they said they’ll get back to us. It could be as long as a month, a month and a half, until we know anything.”

Vontae’s ex-wife Megan Harpe suggested to the Daily Mail via text that he had been suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is only diagnosable postmortem.

Vernon Davis is processing his brother’s death this week. AP

Symptoms can include memory loss, depression, paranoia and suicidal thoughts, and Vernon indicated that his brother had been diagnosed with ADD while growing up. 

He didn’t rule out that his brother may have had CTE, but reiterated that there were still very few answers. 

“Maybe that’s the case, maybe it’s not. We don’t really have an answer to that because there is no way to see into our brain while we live,” Vernon said. “Vontae never really showed a history of using drugs or anything like that. I was at his house two weeks ago and he had the massage therapist there. He had a stretch therapist, a chiropractor, you name it.”

NFL players Vontae Davis and Vernon Davis attend the launch of New Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport at The Recreation Deck at The W South Beach on February 5, 2010. Rick Diamond
Vontae Davis defends during the 2018 season. AP

Vontae appeared in 121 games over his 10-year career, which included time with the Dolphins, Colts and Bills. 

He earned two Pro Bowl nods during his time with the Colts and recorded 22 interceptions and 97 passes defended. 

The Davis brothers grew up in a tough neighborhood in Washington D.C. and Vernon recalled how close the two had been, while feeling like a father figure to Vontae and saying “I could not have picked a better little brother.”

“He was like my son,” Vernon said. “We were four years apart but I remember waking him up to do workouts when he was young and I was in high school. I made him do it because I wanted him to succeed even more than I wanted myself to succeed. I’m proud of him for his great work ethic, for his ability, his discipline. For understanding the difference between being good and great at something and for putting in the work.

“We were the difference makers in our family. We came from a tough background but we had goals and aspirations to be better than the space we came out of.”

Authorities released the 911 tapes on Tuesday of the calls made after Vontae was found and cleanup, restoration crews and security crews — along with detectives — were spotted at the residence that same day.


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