Patrick Willis has a new $50 million deal that makes him the richest inside linebacker in the league. But tight end Vernon Davis says he's not banging on the door wondering when his pay day will come or whether he'll be the highest paid at his position. Davis was decidedly laid back about the topic when asked about a possible extension this evening. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
"I'll take my time," Davis said after appearing as a panelist for Art Impact at the deYoung Museum. "I mean, I would love to get it done before the season starts, but like I said, that's not my deal and that's not something that I need to be worrying about right now. All I'm worrying about is getting to where I want to go, staying at the top of my game and breaking more records. That's where my priorities are at the moment."
Asked whether he feels he should be next in line behind Willis for a new deal, Davis said: "It really doesn't matter. It's not my concern. It's up to them (the 49ers). It's all on them, what they want to do. I'm here. I'm still a 49er. I'm ready for the season. I'm focused on the things that I need to be focused on. I'm ready to get better. ... My goal is to break records. That's my goal."
Davis also addressed his Twitter battle with outspoken - er, outwritten - Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. The two had an entertaining exchange earlier in the week in which Dockett seemed to be fueling a rivalry between Davis and Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson, who spends a lot of time covering Davis when the teams meet. Here's the Tweet exchange from Tuesday:
Dockett: did u think about #24 and u know what #24 I'm talking bout!!!
Davis: last time I checked I was standing over top of #24 with a football stuck to my glove. TD!
Dockett: u better pack a big ass lunch! U think adubb almost killed u last year, u aint seen shhh! U just wait ohhh u just wait buddy!
Dockett hails from Maryland. Davis is from Washington, D.C. The two often meet in the offseason - for example, at the most recent Pro Bowl - and I asked Davis whether their rivalry was as heated as it seemed. "We're cool, but I'm serious about what we talked about. I'm really serious. I mean, I mean everything I say. There's a difference between -- me and Darnell, we're good friends. I don't want it to get out that I want to fistfight him or anything like that. But when it's time to play a game, then Darnell's not my friend. He's on the opposite team and any (chance) I get to destroy him in the blocking game, I'm gonna do it. I really mean what I said. Everything I say comes from the heart."
Does the Twitter chatter add to what is already a good rivalry? "Hey, we get it going. If that's what it takes. And I hope my teammates see it, too. I hope they see it so they can get going and so they can see what they're getting in, too, before the game starts. And I want them to feel that way. That's how you've got to approach this game. This game is about - there's no "I" in team and no one man can win the game himself - but when you're matched up individually, may the best man win."
Do you ever match up with Dockett? "Not much. Every now and then we get a 60 Power or something like that and I'm on him. But other than that, no."
By the way, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber and I showed up at the deYoung hoping to talk to Davis about these football-related topics. But the discussion about art - its importance in the community and how to spark interest in young people - was very interesting. Fellow tight end Delanie Walker was in the audience for support. More on that tomorrow, but Davis was asked by an audience member how he'll fare with Alex Smith as his full-time QB this season.
Davis started by affirming that he loves Smith. "I wouldn't replace him for anybody," he said. "He has it in him. He just has to bring it out."
-- Matt Barrows