When I told the editing staff at Bleacher Report I'd be stepping away in light of a career change, they gave me a truly great reward for the time spent: an assignment. What kind of assignment? An interview with one of the best (if not the best) tight ends in the league.
In our brief phone conversation, Vernon Davis—VD#85—talked to me about his recent life off the field, and gave opinions on some on-the-field issues going into the next season.
We touched briefly on the CBA, Alex Smith, Jim Harbaugh, Mike Singletary, and the toughest player to block in the division.
JB: I know you can't say too much on the CBA or the lockout, but is there anything you can say about it right now?
VD#85: At the moment I really don't know what to say, because this whole thing is crazy, because it's going on too many—we're still not doing anything football related! I mean, it's crazy. It's crazy man...
...My thing is I really don't have [a] say so on it because I just have to, you know, meet with my teammates and just wait and have patience. Just like the rest of them. I really don't have [any] control over anything. I just have to kind of sit back and see what's going on.
JB: Assuming we eventually get to watch you out there on the field tearing it up, you've basically flourished with just about every quarterback you've had on the Niners—whether it was Shaun Hill, Alex Smith, or Troy Smith. The big question a lot of people have right now is "What's up with Alex Smith?"
VD#85: Um, I don't really know what's up with Alex. I don't know, I mean. Alex is...to me he's...when people ask me about Alex Smith I'll be like—I can't really say anything about Alex Smith because he's a competitor. You know, Alex is Alex. I see a competitor. I see an athlete. I see someone who wants to do well and succeed. I never really have anything negative to say about the kid because I don't see anything negative about him. Though other people may see some negative things in his play or whatever, I've been with Alex from day one and I know he's got the tools and the ability to make it happen. But he just has to come around sooner or later.
JB: A lot of people have cited that the systems—and the revolving door at offensive coordinator—have been a big issue. Now we've got Jim Harbaugh coming in with his system. Are you excited for it?
VD#85: Oh yeah, I'm excited for it. It's different. It's another opportunity to learn something different. Getting a new offense is nothing new because I've been in a new offense every year that I've been with the 49ers. You know what I mean?
JB: (laughing) Yeah, I know what you mean.
VD#85: Yeah, so I've been to a new offense before. I look forward to it. It's not—It's not a big deal. I just want to get back with my teammates and keep that bond going. Make it a championship bond.
JB: So in the transition from the Singletary system, you think there's going to be a big change in mentality?
VD#85: Um, I think there will be a big change. Being under coach Singletary, man, you don't know what to expect. It can't get [any] worse. Can't anything get worse than being with coach Singletary because coach Singletary is a disciplinary coach. He will coach you to the fullest. I mean, it's expected of him. Because his attitude toward the game and his approach, I mean, you know, when he was playing he was very emotional, he really loved the game. But you know, I enjoyed that out of coach Singletary. I learned a lot from him. I learned a lot.
JB: Who's the toughest defensive end you've matched up against? Of anyone you've blocked in the division, who 's the toughest to block?
VD#85: In the division? Defensive end? Or whoever?
JB: Anyone you've blocked.
VD#85: If it comes down to blocking the division, what I'd probably have to say is Darnell Dockett.
VD#85: Yeah, he has a motor.
JB: Yeah, you guys get into it on Twitter every once in a while, don't you?
VD#85: Yeah, we just be play'n around. No hard feelings.
JB: A lot of people think you're the best. Are you the best tight end in the league?
VD#85: I think I am...
JB: Alright. I think so too.
VD#85: (laughing) Yeah, I think I am.
Thanks, Bleacher Report. It's been tons of fun killing downtime writing with y'all!