Former 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, whom tight end Vernon Davis credits for helping change his me-first mindset, believes Davis must keep open the lines of communication with the organization during his holdout.
“I think one of the most important things for Vernon is to make sure that right now with all of the things that are out there -- the negative media, however it is -- the most important thing in any holdout is the communication,” Singletary said Tuesday on the NFL Network’s NFL Total Access.
“I don’t care what happens, just don’t let the communication break down between you and the organization. I think that’s really the defining factor in any holdout.”
It is not known if Davis has been in direct contact with general manager Trent Baalke or coach Jim Harbaugh while he seeks a new deal. Davis has two years remaining on a contract he signed in 2010 that averages $7.35 million annually. The team is allowed to negotiate only with Davis’ agent, Todd France.
Harbaugh declined to say whether he has spoken to Davis this offseason. The week before the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp, Harbaugh said he expected Davis to attend. At the time, Davis said publicly he planned to be there.
“It needs to be with the GM,” Singletary said of the communication. “Certainly the coach helps. I think Harbaugh being there and knowing how important Vernon is to the offense, I’m sure that that would help if he were able to say or speak on Vernon’s behalf.”
It seems unlikely Harbaugh is backing Davis’ holdout. When Davis and guard Alex Boone failed to report to the mandatory camp, Harbaugh said he was disappointed in their absences, adding, “(it's) not the decision I envision being the 49er way.”
Singletary added, “It’ll be an interesting situation but that’s the biggest thing. Vernon has been a great part of that organization and right now it’s just a matter of let’s just keep the communication open, let’s just keep an open forum here, and let’s go forward and get it done somehow, some way.”
In Singletary’s first game as interim head coach in October 2008 after taking over for fired Mike Nolan, he ordered Davis off the field and back into the locker room after Davis was penalized for softly shoving Seattle Seahawks safety Brian Russell in the facemask. After the game, Singletary launched into his famed “I want winners!” tirade that was seemingly directed at Davis.
“It was just one of those situations where I really felt it was the best thing for the team at that particular time, and Vernon,” Singletary said. “I think as a coach one of the things you have to do is always look at what’s best for the team. That was a move that I really felt made a difference that day.”
The 49ers were trailing Seattle 27-6 late in the third quarter when Davis was removed from the game. The Seahawks were 34-13 winners that day at Candlestick.