Anthony Davis is not a "fizzle-out" kind of NFL guy.
But that wasn't always a sure thing, something that his college coach, current Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, hammered home when Davis was a young player at Rutgers.
"I had coached in the NFL, and I told him stories about guys who can either be long-term NFL players and get their second and third contracts or they can be fizzle-out guys," Schiano said today on a conference call. "And I just wanted to make sure Anthony was going to get .. second and third contracts, really. He's well on his way now."
Indeed, earlier this year Davis, the 49ers' starting right tackle, signed a five-year, $37 million contract extension. Davis referenced his tough-love experience with Schiano shortly after signing the deal in April when he took to Twitter.
Wrote Davis: "You will be a 1 contract and done kinda guy in the NFL. - Greg Schiano. Lol," a Tweet that he quickly deleted.
The message underscored what has been an, at times, uneasy relationship between Davis and Schiano, who recruited the Piscataway, N.J. offensive lineman and convinced him to stay home and play for Rutgers. Schiano said that he never tried to dissuade Davis from leaving Rutgers early. He said his policy was that if one of his players has a chance to be drafted in the first round, he should leave school, take the money, and get his degree later. The 49ers took Davis 11th overall in 2010.
Also in April, Davis told NFL Draft Bible that Schiano "didn't do (expletive)" for him when he was at Rutgers.
"He like, breaks your confidence down," said Davis, who was at Rutgers for its pro day. "That's his idea of molding guys, by breaking their confidence down. But really, without confidence, you've got a [expletive] team. And I feel like, what he's doing, I thought it was because I was young and I just didn't appreciate what he was doing, but now that I'm a little older, I just realize that his plan is not working. And I think he's going to start finding that out soon enough."
Schiano said his philosophy is not to be concerned with how a player feels abut him while he is coaching that player or soon thereafter. "Be concerned 20 years down the road," he said. "Do they thank you and respect you? And I hope that's what Anthony will feel. Because I did push him, but I love him. And I think he's a great player and a great person."
Asked if Davis' success signals that Schiano did, in fact, do the right things, Schiano said, "I hope so. I hope we did. It's like raising your own kids. You do everything you think at the time that's the best for your team and each individual player. But nobody's perfect. You make some mistakes."
- Matt Barrows