Meet USA Curling's most improbable honorary captain: NFL star Vernon Davis

Davis first heard about the sport when he was challenged to try it.

February 15, 2017, 4:40 AM

— -- At 6 foot 4 and 250 pounds, Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis is not a typical curling player or fan.

The word "fan" may be an understatement. In 2010, Davis was awarded the title of honorary captain of Team USA Curling and attended that year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He went to the 2016 Games in Sochi and says he plans to attend the 2018 Games in South Korea too.

"I love the sport of curling because it's just you and the stone and the broom," Davis told ABC News and ESPN's The Undefeated in a joint interview. "You have to have a still mind, a calm mind. Just like anything else, like when it comes to football, the mindset has to be still."

As the story goes, in 2009, a reporter dared Davis, then a San Francisco 49er, to give the winter sport a try.

"I was like, 'Curling? What is that?'" he said. "[The reporter] was like, 'Just come on out. You'll love it, you'll love it.' So I went out on the ice, and I was probably on the ice for maybe an hour and a half, and I fell in love with it."

A few months later, Team USA Curling invited Davis to join it as its ceremonial captain to "give them encouragement and support," said Terry Davis, the director of communications for USA Curling. "Vernon also took part in media opportunities at [the 2010 and 2014] Games to help curling gain more exposure."

In addition to bringing general awareness to the sport, Davis, a two-time Pro Bowler, said he hopes his role as honorary captain can help attract more African-Americans to the pastime.

"Right now, I feel like a lot of African-Americans don't really know too much about the game of curling," he said. "But it can be different ... and that can change through promoting."

"I'm an art studio major, so I'm all about doing something different and just trying to see what else is out there, exploring and just thinking outside the box and opening up my mind," Davis added.

This is a joint project between ABC News and ESPN's The Undefeated.

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