Vernon Davis is a tried and true product of the Washington, D.C., area.

He grew up during some of its toughest years as the city battled with the nationwide crack epidemic in the 1980s and the separation of its quadrants that followed, pitting the affluent and the disadvantaged on opposite sides of Rock Creek Park.

“It was quite an experience, and I say that because everything that took place in my life at an early age I’m very thankful for because I learned a lot — I really did,” said Davis. “My past, just me growing up in that area and not being able to pursue my dreams all because I was afraid and I didn’t want to do it because of what people said about me, that’s not ideal for a kid growing up.”

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