49ers' tight ends create nightmares for defenses

  • Vernon Davis scrambles to the end zone for a 31-yard 4th quarter touchdown. The San Francisco 49ers beat the N.Y. Giants 27-20 on Sunday, November 13, 2011.


It started with a handshake. A very firm handshake.

It was 2006, and one of the 49ers' draft choices, Vernon Davis, approached another as they prepared to get team physicals. "And I walked up like, &‘What's up, man? What's your name?'" Davis recounted. "He was like, &‘Delanie. Delanie Walker.' And when I shook his hand, I shook his hand real hard. He said, &‘Daaang, bro, why you gotta shake my hand so hard?' From that day, I knew he'd be a funny guy."

The two have been close friends ever since, despite their different pedigrees. Davis was the sixth overall pick in the draft, a can't-miss prospect from the University of Maryland with a movie star's smile and a weightlifter's body. Walker had played for two years at Mt. San Antonio College in Southern California, then two more at obscure Central Missouri before joining the 49ers as a sixth-round selection, the 175th player overall.

Davis was a classic tight end, immediately penciled into the starting lineup. Walker would play tight end, too, but he'd have to toil on special teams as he made the conversion from wide receiver.

Five years later, they form one of the NFL's most versatile tight end combinations, and their bond is stronger than ever.

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