When Mike Singletary took over as the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach in 2008 he immediately tried to send a message to the team in his coaching debut. The message? “I want winners.” There’s no need to rehash the entire speech, I’m sure we all remember the famous Singletary rant after scolding tight end Vernon Davis for the entire world to see.
In his first game as the 49ers head coach on October 27, 2008 , Singletary benched then starting quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan and sent Davis to the locker room for “nonchalant’ behavior against the Seattle Seahawks.
Almost five years removed from that infamous day in San Francisco, Davis has moved on. The sixth overall pick out of The University of Maryland has since played in a Pro Bowl and a Super Bowl.
On Tuesday, Davis sat down with the NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington at the Rookie Symposium.
Davis didn’t seem happy about it, but the first thing he talked about was losing the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens back in February. “You did have to go there huh?” Said Davis after Darlington asked about how the offseason went after losing on the NFL’s biggest stage. “Winning is the only thing, so when you get in that game and the outcome is not what you expected, It’s hard to deal with man,” continued Davis.
They say time heals all wounds, but how did the tight end handle losing the biggest game of his career right after the game concluded? “For me, I went to the room, I laid on the bed. You know, I covered my head with the pillow and I cried man. I cried for probably a whole hour,” said Davis.
During the last 49ers’ minicamp, Davis was seen lining up as a wide receiver almost exclusively, which has 49er and general football fans wondering if a position change is in his future.
Davis talked about playing receiver, well kind of, he didn’t rally give us much insight into the situation. “I’ll do whatever the coaches ask me to do,” said Davis about playing the wideout position in camp. “Where I’m at right now as a man, and how I have grown as a player, my true identity is within the team. It’s all about the team.”
With the absence of Michael Crabtree, one might presume that Davis might have to pick up the slack at the position due to No. 15 going down with an Achilles tear.
During the off-season the 49ers traded a sixth round draft pick to the Baltimore Ravens for wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Isn’t it safe to assume that the glue like hands that come with a veteran and much proven talent like Boldin would be enough to pull that rope tight again while Crabtree recovers?
So who knows what the 49ers are up to with Davis, he certainly is capable of stretching the field. Maybe not having his hand in the grass as a tight end may make it easier for him to see the field in advance and get a jump on the cornerback or linebacker from an upright position.
If the 49ers are to get back to the big game in 2014, the team may not have to look any further than their own division for some of their toughest competition. The St. Louis Rams gave the 49ers fits in 2012 as did the Seahawks. Actually the Hawks might be better than we all think according to Davis. “I think it’s a great division. You have a team like Seattle who’s coming up. I mean they’re building a dynasty over there,” Davis said.
A Dynasty? Maybe Davis is playing mind games and wants to lure the Seahawks into a false sense of security. They are good, but not that good yet.
With that said, the NFC West is no longer a guaranteed six wins for the 49ers as pundits have seemed to apply the last two preseasons.
All Grown Up
The interview with Darlington was only about three minutes long. In that short time though, you can tell that Vernon Davis has matured since that early exit to the locker room in 2008.
The man has had a taste of what it will take to become a champion and it now seems that he will practice what he preaches and it’s not just lip service when he alludes to the fact that he is all about the team.
I used the word man, and that’s exactly what he has become, not the boy who was scolded for basically not caring just under five years ago.