NFL: 49er TE Vernon Davis not worried about contract extension
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Two weeks ago, standout linebacker Patrick Willis received a hefty five-year contract extension from the San Francisco 49ers. Could Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis be the next guy to get rewarded?
He's not sure, and he insists it's not weighing heavily on his mind right now. Yet Davis figures things will work out in time — and he wouldn't mind a similar long-term commitment from the team. His current deal is due to be up after the 2010 season, and the 49ers have said they want to do all they can to keep their core players to establish some stability for the franchise.
"I'm not in a rush to do anything," Davis said Monday after the first of four optional practices this week. "That'd be good, when I eventually sign my extension. It's not something that's heavy on my mind. I'm not really thinking about it at the moment. I like to let things come to me. He's a defensive guy, I'm an offensive guy. I didn't really try to compare him to me."
The 26-year-old Davis is coming off a career year in his fourth NFL season, in which he tied Antonio Gates' NFL record for touchdowns by a tight end with 13. Davis finished with career highs of 78 catches and 965 yards.
While Davis is in camp this week, others who apparently are unhappy with their contract situations are staying away: starting cornerback Shawntae Spencer and linebacker Manny Lawson.
For Davis, showing up is about doing his job — and that is to continue "to get better." He's also a captain and eager to lead the young players by example at this early stage, even with training camp still more than two months away.
"I'm here because this is what I do," Davis said. "I'm not concerned about the other guys and what they do. (Manny) is a grown man. Me, I like to work."
Coach Mike Singletary said he has spoken with both Spencer and fellow cornerback no-show Nate Clements and is satisfied they are doing fine in their offseason workouts to prepare for next season. As far as Lawson, the coach hasn't spoken to him for "a while."
Like Davis, Lawson is in the final year of his contract. Both were drafted by San Francisco in 2006. Lawson had a career-best 6› sacks last season — and he, too, is seeking more from the Niners.
Spencer might be making a statement of his own by staying away.
Clements is a different case. He broke his right shoulder blade in a road game against the Colts on Nov. 1 and was done for the rest of the season for San Francisco, which finished 8-8 to end a franchise-worst stretch of six straight losing seasons but missed the playoffs for the seventh straight year.
Safety Michael Lewis said while the team misses its two starting cornerbacks, this gives the young players a chance to get more work this week.
"We're trying to build something special and those guys know the defense already," Lewis said of Clements and Spencer. "They're taking care of business, Shawntae in Pittsburgh and Nate out in Arizona. Guys are getting better. That's the main focus, if you're out there getting better then we have no problem with it. With the younger guys who are here, we're trying to get them better so they can help us out on the field."
Still, if you ask Davis, the best way to accomplish things for the season is to be on the field with the rest of the team — voluntary or not, contract issues or not.
"I just like to take my time and always stay positive about things," Davis said. "I'm not really concerned on who they sign first or whether they sign me last. If you work hard, you get what you deserve. The harder you work, the more successful you are. I've always believed in that."
Notes: Willis said he's not sure when he will be back on the field at full speed following a March procedure on his right knee to remove an inflamed fluid sac that kept him out of this year's Pro Bowl. "I'm just listening to the trainers," he said. ... DT Aubrayo Franklin also didn't take part Monday. ... Ted Ginn Jr., acquired when the Niners traded their fifth-round draft pick to Miami to get him, dropped a couple of balls thrown by starting QB Alex Smith. ... The 49ers signed rookie seventh-round pick CB Phillip Adams to a four-year contract, making him the first of the team's eight draft picks to sign.