Heading into the 2015 season, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis is seeking to boost his play on the field by improving his outlook off of it.
Davis said Friday he entered this offseason’s programs with a renewed sense of passion and clarity that was lost on him last year after firing an advisor who he said insisted on placing his client’s focus on money instead of the game he loved.
The results were immediately clear. Davis has been a full participant in team activities since the start of OTAs, a stark contrast to last year’s contract holdout situation. Davis has also appeared less interested in his Fantex stock, and more interested in reclaiming the dominance he once flashed as a premiere tight end in the NFL:
“I don’t play this game for money, I play for the love of the game. I play for the moment, and that’s all we have…And it just frustrates me at this point, because I was actually doing something just so I could get paid, but that’s not who I am. That’s not what I stand for … But the great thing about it is I get another opportunity. And what you saw this offseason is just me being determined to be great.”
For Davis, the decision to part with his advisor was simple, coming down to a key philosophical difference that separated the pair.
“I fired that person because he worships money, and that’s not what I worship.”
Heavy criticism was lobbed towards the 49ers star tight end last season as many speculated his multiple business ventures derailed Davis’ focus on the field, leading to career lows in receiving yards and his second-fewest receptions since his rookie season in 2006.
Davis, who finished the season with 245 yards on 26 receptions, and was a large part of the 49ers failure to move the ball through the air in 2014. The team finished 30th in the NFL in passing offense with just 191.4 per game.
But as Davis prepares to enter his 10th season in the NFL, he said his renewed sense of focus has rejuvenated not only mentally, but physically as well:
“I feel like a rookie. I feel like I did when I first walked in here. I feel faster, feel explosive. I just feel great overall. I just feel like I have a lot of youth.”
If Davis can return to form, he can open up a variety of options for the 49ers on offense. Davis has had enough of worrying about cash. Instead, he’s turning his attention to sterling silver, that of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.