Former NFL star Vontae Davis found dead at his Florida home

Former NFL star Vontae Davis found dead at his Florida home

Tooba Shakir 54 years ago 0 2

The body of former NFL cornerback Vontae Davis was found by police Monday at his home in Southwest Ranches, Fla. In a statement to The Washington Post, the Davie Police Department said they were called by a house assistant who had discovered Davis’s body, and that preliminary information suggested foul play was not involved in his death. He was 35.

Chester Frazier, an assistant men’s basketball coach at Illinois whose time as a player for the Fighting Illini overlapped with Davis’s tenure on the Illinois football team, spoke of Davis’s death on X:

T.Y. Hilton, a former teammate of Davis’s with the Colts, and Colts owner Jim Irsay also posted remembrances.

A graduate of Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., Davis spent 10 seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills, recorded 22 career interceptions and twice made the Pro Bowl. He had one of the more memorable retirements in sports history when he hung up his pads at halftime of his 2018 season debut for the Bills, leaving the stadium as the game played on.

“Today on the field, reality hit me fast and hard: I shouldn’t be out there anymore. It’s more important for me and my family to walk away healthy than to willfully embrace the warrior mentality and limp away too late,” Davis said in a statement released after his retirement.

After retirement, Davis co-wrote a book for children about how he overcame a rough upbringing in Washington to become a standout football player. His father was absent and his mother was addicted to crack cocaine, so he and his six siblings — including older brother Vernon, a former NFL tight end — were adopted by their grandmother.

“There was times I would wake up in the morning, and I wouldn’t know where she was,” Davis told a group of Dunbar students when he visited his alma mater in 2019. “I’m 11 years old. Eleven. I got to take care of my siblings, my sister. Baby’s crying. I don’t know what to do. But one thing I learned from the situation is, your circumstances don’t make you. You make your circumstance. So for the ones who are going through stuff in life and come in here, still have to play, still have to focus, I did those things. So I know what you’re going through.

“I come from the same environment. But this message means more to me. It means more to me, because I’m not just a football player. I want to leave you guys with knowledge. … That’s why I came back, because I care about you guys, man. Y’all my brothers.”

A 2019 Washington Post story about Davis’s visit to Dunbar said he saved much of his NFL salary during his playing days and, in retirement, operated a wellness spa, Vzone, that specialized in oxygen treatments. Davis’s LinkedIn profile said he was chief executive of Davis Family Hospitality Group, “a comprehensive support system encompassing mentorship and safeguarding for athletes.”

In February 2023, Davis was arrested on six charges, including DUI, after he crashed his Tesla into a truck that was parked on the shoulder of a highway in Broward County, Fla. In October, Davis pleaded guilty to one count of reckless driving and was sentenced to a year of probation.

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