Vernon Davis had sat, stewed, waited and wondered.
The date was Oct. 27, 2008, and the San Francisco 49ers' star tight end had spent the previous afternoon trying to understand why coach Mike Singletary had banished him to the locker room with 10 minutes remaining in a 34-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Now Davis was tired of holding his tongue. As he entered Singletary's office at 49ers headquarters, he steadied himself for a clear-the-air conversation. I don't want to be here," Davis said to Singletary, who had punished the player for earning a senseless personal foul. When the coach asked for an explanation, Davis said he was tired of being misused in an offense that was asking him to do more blocking than pass catching.
It was the type of demand Davis figured would lead to a better result until Singletary shrugged his shoulders and calmly exhaled. "Vernon," Singletary said, "Once you put the team first and stop worrying about yourself, that's when everything will happen for you." It's been nearly two years since that conversation, and Singletary no longer has to wonder whether Davis got the message. The coach could see that much on a sun-drenched afternoon in the Bay Area last week.