It's a good thing Vernon Davis retried when he did ... because the ex-NFL star says he probably would've sat out this season over COVID concerns.
Davis -- who spent 14 seasons in the league -- hung up his cleats for good back in February, right before COVID exploded into a giant problem in the U.S.
Now that he's seen the pandemic play out, Davis tells TMZ Sports he would be "totally concerned" if he was still on a team and expected to play on Sundays.
"I would be totally concerned because I worry about my family," Davis said ... while admitting, "I probably would have opted out."
The NFL is already dealing with some serious COVID problems involving multiple teams -- and there's concerns about a larger outbreak.
Davis says he hopes the league takes the COVID threat seriously -- and puts safety first.
As for football, we asked Davis about the QB situation with his former team in Washington -- since they just benched starter Dwayne Haskins for Kyle Allen.
Davis says he strongly believes Haskins has what it takes to be a star in the league -- and "being benched is just temporary."
We also asked about Alex Smith's comeback from that gnarly leg injury that almost ended his career -- and Davis told us straight-up AS is "the most resilient man I've ever met in my life."