A little background: Vernon played football for the University of Maryland and now plays for the San Francisco 49ers.
Vernon: Last weekend I attended ESPN the Weekend in Orlando, but on a typical day, I’m working out to get ready for the upcoming season as well as watching and supporting my brother Vontae get ready to be drafted into the NFL in April.
Does the daily routine ever get boring, do you sometimes wish you were doing something else?
Vernon: No, I am living my dream of playing in the NFL and playing football.
So if you weren’t playing football, what would you realistically be doing right now?
Vernon: If I wasn’t playing football I would be into fashion designing and interior decorating
I heard you were an art major in college, that’s different- what made you choose that over say Business or even something like Health? Let’s be honest here was it because you thought it would be easy A’s?
Vernon: Actually, I had a dream about art, and my counselor suggested I give it a try. After taking some classes, I loved it and switched majors. Art is relaxing and allows me to show my imagination and thoughts on canvas. I usually paint what I see at that time or images that just come to my mind.
I’m an artist… I feel like I’m an artist in every sense of the word- I paint, draw, design… music, photography, fashion, and design literally consume me and I couldn’t imagine life without those things… Who are you as an artist Vernon? Do you even really consider yourself an artist, if so, what type of artist are you?
What inspires you?
Vernon: Myfamily. Because of them I strive to be well rounded and to be the best at everything I do.
I heard you were at New York Fashion Week? How fun! How did you like it? What shows or events did you go to?
Vernon: I had a blast! I joked with somebody and said this is like the Super Bowl for designers. I went to Organic, YIGAL AZROUEL, William Rast, William Rast After party, and Madea Goes to Jail premiere, LuxuryFashion.com party, and of course I did some shopping. It was my first Fashion Week, but it won’t be my last. It really fed my creative side.
Of all the shows/events you went to what was your favorite? Why?
Could you see yourself being a fashion designer? What would you name your clothing line and what type of clothes would you design?
Vernon: I could see myself as a fashion designer I would probably design suits and shoes. I don’t have a name for it but maybe could incorporate DUKE, the nickname that my family calls me, into it somehow.
In general who are your favorite designers?
How would you describe your style? Describe how it has evolved from let’s say high school to now.
Vernon: I prefer a certain fit in my clothes (not too tight, but not baggy), and I like to stand out a bit from the other guys. I’m not afraid to wear bright or unusual colors either. In high school I used to put fabric paint on all my shirts and cut holes in my jeans. I used to paint my sneakers too.
Is it hard to be an athlete and be stylish? Why or why not?
Vernon: It gets a little hard sometimes because a lot of brands don’t make their clothes big enough to fit me. Then again, I’m able to have things made or tailored, so It’s probably easier for us than it is for other big guys.
If you had to take the wardrobe and style of any person right now, who would it be and why?
Vernon: I would take the wardrobe of Kanye West because he thinks outside of the box and is very creative. I wouldn’t do the skinny jeans or the hair cut, though.
What’s your favorite trend right now? What do you do, besides reading The Urban Gentleman, to keep up with the current trends?
Vernon: To keep up with the trends I read all the men’s fashion magazines, GQ, Men’s Vogue, Esquire and Details. I also try to look at clothes that are different and how I can apply my own style to the designer whether it’s a well known brand or upcoming designer. My favorite trend is embellished jeans. Oh and I love how sneaker brands are being more creative too.
What tips can you give guys trying to stay in shape?
Vernon: Be consistent, get on a strict regimen, eat healthy and always include cardio.
What’s your general workout routine during your off season? Any favorite health foods?
Vernon: Usually, I train heavier during the off-season because during the on-season I really want to focus on injury prevention workouts. I usually work out three days a week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday — focusing on mostly upper-body work. I incorporate resistance bands quite frequently, which I feel has gotten me really good results.
I also incorporate Deep Water speed and conditioning training. I am inside the pool in 15-16 feet with a harness around my waist that keeps me afloat, with water weights on my ankles. I do a number of drills and water stretching first. I then must sprint in a running motion 25 yards at a time from one end of the pool to the other with some rest in between. This workout is low impact and puts no stress on my body. Again, its a long season and off season, so we want to stay fresh as possible.
Another workout that I love is called, KNOCK-OUT! Knock out can be compared to a one on one street basketball game, but it is done on the football field. Other athletes participate in this workout; there is a quarterback and defensive back or linebacker against a receiver or tight end. The ball is placed on the 3yrd line, the receiver (me) can only run 4 different routes. The defender can play however he likes. The receiver must catch the ball in a small window in the end zone. Points are rewarded to the person with the most points from catches in the end zone. Defense vs. Offense, the defense can get points from either catching interceptions or batted balls. This exercise helps concentration levels on the field, similar to the concentration you need to have in the red zone. The drill is fun and adds a competitive element to the workout, which I think is needed because I am a competitive person.
Usually, I’ll have egg whites, turkey sausage, fruit, and oatmeal for breakfasts. For lunch I’ll have some grilled chicken or a turkey burger with veggies, fruit and wheat bread. Between lunch and dinner it’s often a protein bar, and then my evening meal is pretty much the same as lunch.
Here’s a sort of random question, but what do you do to maintain your dreads? What products do you use?
Vernon: I use beeswax and I get my hair twisted every two weeks
Anything else you want to say?
Vernon: Hard work equals success. Just work and study your craft and God will open doors to bless you.