SANTA CLARA -- At the conclusion of the 49ers’ offseason program, veteran running back Frank Gore saw a reporter walking off the practice field and asked, “How did you think we looked out there?”
Gore did not participate in the workouts, but he was following along closely from the sideline.
The answer: “The passing game isn’t the same without Vernon Davis out there.”
“Tell Vernon that,” Gore responded.
Davis knew the 49ers needed him. He didn’t need anyone else to tell him. And that’s why he sat out the 49ers’ offseason program in hopes of leveraging a new contract from the organization.
Whether he gets that deal remains to be seen, but the 49ers were spared one major headache this summer with Davis’ decision to report Wednesday for the beginning of training camp.
Right guard Alex Boone did not report. And Boone does not plan to report to the 49ers until he gets a new contract, a source told CSNBayArea.com. At least in the short term, the 49ers will try to manage without Boone.
Joe Looney, Adam Snyder, Jonathan Martin and the loser of the center competition, pitting Daniel Kilgore against Marcus Martin, are options to replace Boone.
There was, really, no option to replace Davis.
After all, quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw 21 touchdown passes last season. Davis caught 13 of them.
The 49ers have capable wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree. But Davis remains the 49ers’ top deep threat and their best target in the red zone.
In short, Davis was irreplaceable. Now, they do not have to worry about attempting to replace him.