Vernon Davis waited a long time to make big contributions for the 49ers this season. In the last six games of the regular season, Davis had a six receptions for 61 yards combined. He failed to reach the end zone during that span.
When the postseason started, momentum started to take a turn as he caught a 44-yard pass to setup a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional playoffs. Despite being unable to contribute in the passing game, Davis wasn't worried.
"As the team was winning and having success, I'd probably have been the one complaining," said Davis. "I would have probably been in the media, making a scene, going to the coach and just being a cancer to the team."
In the NFC Championship game against the Falcons, Davis produced a five-reception, 106-yard, one-touchdown performance that helped the 49ers come back from a 17-point deficit.
Davis said what turned around his attitude was the infamous ejection against the Seattle Seahawks in 2008. Mike Singletary famously said he "can't play with him and can't coach him" and would rather play with 10 players who were responsible than 11 players with Davis. He said it helped him mature to the player he is today.
"The time when Singletary sent me to the locker room, it changed my life around," said Davis. "We shared tears and I wanted to leave the team after that game. I matured from it because [I learned] everything wasn't about me."
From that moment, Davis said he committed to just playing football and not being concerned about himself. The following season, Davis' hard work paid off with a career high 965 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. At the time, he set a record for most touchdowns by a tight end in the regular season, until it was broken in 2011 by Rob Gronkowski with 17 touchdowns.
Davis has been focusing on the team and he is happy to see success with the 49ers. While he isn't lighting up the scoreboard, he is still focused on what the team does.
"I didn't see many balls [when Colin Kaepernick took over as quarterback], but I started to think bad, and in order to be great, you need to be a slave and a servant," said Davis. "You need to be humble to stay on the top. When you put the team first, you have a lot of success in what you're trying to build."
It takes time to build chemistry with a new quarterback, according to Davis. He only connected well in Kaepernick's first career start against the Chicago Bears with six receptions for 83 yards to go with a touchdown.
After seven weeks of waiting, Davis said it has been worth the time and effort to be on the same page with Kaepernick.
"[Finding a connection with Kaepernick] took time," said Davis. "When I first got here we didn't connect just like that. Everyone always said that it's important to build chemistry and get the timing down with your quarterback, but I didn't quite understand that until me and Alex [Smith] started to connect. It [later] all started to come together for me, like a puzzle. You unscramble a puzzle and then you put it together, then you understand the meaning of that puzzle, and what the puzzle is trying to represent."
One thing is for sure, Davis is an important part of the offense for the 49ers as either a decoy or receiver. He will contribute one way or another and if the 49ers win without Davis catching passes, he won't complain.