SANTA CLARA (AP) — Vernon Davis parted ways with an adviser before last season who had been pushing the 49ers tight end to get pushy for a new contract.
“I fired that person because he worships money,” Davis said. “That’s not what I worship.”
Davis shared the story Friday as San Francisco’s veterans reported to training camp ahead of Saturday night’s opening practice at Levi’s Stadium. He wanted to explain his absence during the offseason program last year before he reported to training camp on time.
“Last year I had a lot of people in my ear, particularly an adviser who kept telling me, ‘Hey, you should try to get another contract,’” Davis said. “As my fiduciary, he was right about a lot of things, so I listened to him, I took his advice. But during the course of that season, I had a chance to really think about it, like: ‘What am I doing? I don’t play this game for money. That’s not why I play.’ It’s good, it’s good to have that, to get rewarded and things, but what am I doing?”
Now, Davis can’t wait to get started again — with a new offensive system, a fired-up first-year coach who wants to utilize him and a quarterback in Colin Kaepernick who spent the offseason improving his game under Kurt Warner.
The 31-year-old Davis is eager to prove he can step right back on the field and be the dominant tight end he was just two years ago, when he matched his career high with 13 touchdown receptions.
He finished with only 26 receptions for 245 yards and two TDs last year, despite then-offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s repeated words that he wanted Davis more involved in the offense.
“When you look at the season we had last year as a team I think overall no one really did well, from a coaching standpoint as well as players,” Davis said. “It’s done. It’s over.”
Left tackle Joe Staley is eager to see Davis with a fresh start. The 49ers missed the playoffs at 8-8 last year and let fourth-year coach Jim Harbaugh go before elevating Jim Tomsula from defensive line coach to replace him.
Staley has no idea why Davis didn’t have the same caliber of season in 2014.
“Vernon’s a huge weapon for this football team,” Staley said. “We’d be stupid not to utilize all the things he can do for us on the football field. As to the reason why last year, I don’t really have an answer. Last year was just a jumbled mess in a lot of different areas.”
Tomsula was thrilled by how his players performed in Friday’s conditioning tests.
“The only fat guy on the field today was me,” he cracked. “You could see an energy and a bounce.”
With the retirement of linebacker Patrick Willis this offseason among other teammates, Davis is keeping his perspective.
“You’ve got to just live in the moment, love each and every bit of it, give it your all every time you step on the field,” he said. “Do everything that you possibly can to get better each and every day and make sure that you leave a great legacy when it’s all said and done. Every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to bed, I think about guys like Patrick Willis. It just gives me fire and it just adds a chip to me I didn’t know I had.”
Notes: LB NaVorro Bowman, who missed all of last season following left knee surgery, will wear his brace and listen to the training staff as he returns. “I’m not going to be hard-headed,” he said, noting his first real hurdle will be taking a hit once the pads go on next week. ... Tomsula is listing Alex Boone as left guard for now in departed Mike Iupati’s former position. ... OL Daniel Kilgore, on the physically unable to perform list after a fractured left ankle and surgery ended his 2014 season last October, underwent a minor procedure that will delay him for at least half of training camp. “We were expecting sometime in the middle of training camp. That’s pushed back,” Tomsula said. “I don’t know how far back.” ... LB Michael Wilhoite has a strained muscle in his leg and was placed on the non-football injury list. LB Aaron Lynch and OL Trent Brown were removed from the non-football injury list.