by Matt Trowbridge
Mike Singletary couldn’t play with Vernon Davis. Couldn’t win with the 49ers’ No. 6 overall draft pick. Couldn’t coach him. Couldn’t do it. Would rather play with 10 guys and get penalized every play than play a tight end more interested in himself than winning. Yet less than a year after the 49ers’ then-interim coach sent Davis to the locker room at halftime and exploded in a postgame rant, Singletary made Davis a team captain.
“Vernon has always been a very hardworking young man. He’s a guy who is going to give you everything he has every day,” Singletary said on a teleconference before Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bears in San Francisco. “He had to mature some, and he’s matured a lot. He’s been a tremendous example for his teammates.” Davis now calls Singletary’s notorious blowup “an awesome thing.
“It allowed me and Coach Singletary to know each other more and to talk,” Davis said. “Since then, we’ve become best friends.” Singletary has become known as the NFL’s most fiery coach since the man he played for, Chicago legend Mike Ditka. Like Ditka, a Hall of Fame tight end, Singletary’s status as a Hall of Fame linebacker gives his rants more weight. Davis called Singletary “a leader, a father and just an outstanding mentor.”