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Pro Bowl Watch: Vernon Davis

1/30/2010

Two tight ends drafted since 2006 have earned Pro Bowl honors.

One of them, Houston's Owen Daniels, is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery. The other, San Francisco's Vernon Davis, has already overcome reconstructive attitude surgery.

In 15 months, Davis has gone from budding draft bust and loose cannon to arguably the most dynamic all-around tight end in the NFL. Coach Mike Singletary's decision to banish Davis to the locker room during a 2008 home loss to Seattle will go down as one of the most unusual and effective motivational tactics in NFL history. Singletary later named Davis a team captain, an appointment that became self-fulfilling.

Only wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss matched Davis' 13 touchdown receptions in 2009. And of the 19 players with more than seven scoring grabs, Davis was the only one whose team made a performance-based change at quarterback. He wasn't catching passes from Kurt Warner or Tom Brady, in other words.

Davis will get a chance to play with elite quarterbacks during his Pro Bowl debut Sunday. He might also get a chance to show his dominant skills as a blocker. As tough as it might have once been to envision Davis earning Pro Bowl honors, it's now tougher to envision him failing to make return trips.