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One Great Grandmother

The inspiration for 49er Vernon Davis

GRANDPARENTS' DAY SPECIAL!

WHO'S HE?
Forty-niner Vernon Davis, last year's No. 6 draft pick who got what was then the largest contract ($23 million, five years) ever for a tight end. He grew up the eldest of seven siblings in a tough area of Washington, D.C.

WHO'S SHE?
Adaline Davis, Vernon's grandmother, who raised the entire brood herself.

WHY NOW?
This Sunday—in case you needed another reason to buy a greeting card—is the 30th annual Grandparents Day.

ADALINE'S RULES
Just two: 1. Don't accept anything that comes easy, and 2. Treat everyone with respect. That means everyone. At 15 Vernon, a star athlete at Dunbar High, told Adaline he was ditching his close friends, who were getting into drugs. She said to detach with love. "I told him they could turn their lives around, become lawyers or doctors and that he might need them one day," Adaline recalls. "So to let them know you love them and you'll be there for them but you have to do your own thing right now."

WRONG MOVE
At Maryland, Vernon gave himself a reminder of the woman he calls "Ma" by tattooing Adaline on his arm. "When he showed it to me," says Adaline, "I kicked him out the door, turned the lock, shut the lights and didn't sleep a wink that night." After church the next day Adaline called to forgive him. And after last year's draft, he got another tattoo—of her image on his chest.

GIVING BACK
Davis, who describes Adaline as "my best friend," bought a five-bedroom house for her and his siblings in Silver Spring, Md. He has also pledged a yearly $10,000 donation to her church, Newborn Pentecostal, in D.C.

THE LAST WORD
Adaline's proud of Vernon, but she won't come see him play; she's too worried he'll get injured. She records his games, then watches after getting a postgame call from Vernon saying he's O.K. "I don't like his tattoos, I don't like his football and I don't like his dreads either," says Adaline. "But with all my heart and soul I love him dearly."

The Pop Culture Grid

How do sports stars fit in?

I'm Superbad when I ...

In your pockets right now

Favorite comfort food

Least favorite exercise

Boxers or briefs

Person I'm dying to have dinner with

NICK PUNTO Twins 3B

Have a basketball in my hands

Wallet, cellphone, comb, $100

Ice cream

Abs

Boxer-briefs

Chevy Chase (left)

CHRIS COOPER Cardinals DE

Am on the field

Cellphone and wallet

Rib-eye steak

Long-distance running

Boxers

Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs)

JON KITNA Lions QB

Hook my driver off the tee

Car keys, cellphone

My wife Jennifer's bow-tie pasta

Running on a treadmill

Boxer-briefs

Tiger Woods

SHANE VICTORINO Phillies RF

Get around women

Cellphone, wallet, Trojans

Ice cream

Running

None. I go commando

Jessica Biel (above)

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COURTESY OF SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (DAVIS FAMILY)

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PETER READ MILLER (DAVIS ACTION)

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JIM SPELLMAN/WIREIMAGE.COM (BIEL)

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LOUIS LOPEZ/CAL SPORT MEDIA (PUNTO)

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GETTY IMAGES (COOPER)

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DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP (VICTORINO)

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LEON HALIP/WIREIMAGE.COM (KITNA)

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COLUMBIA PICTURES/PHOTOFEST (SUPERBAD)

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WARNER BROS./PHOTOFEST (CHASE)

TWO PHOTOS