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TE Davis gets 5-year extension
SANTA CLARA, CALIF. (AP) - For months, Vernon Davis insisted he wasn’t concerned about a contract extension _ saying it would all take care of itself in time. Even after 49ers defensive star Patrick Willis received a hefty new deal in May.
“I didn’t let it bother me,” Davis said. “I prayed about it. My grandmother prayed about it.”
That patience paid off. Now, Davis is the highest-paid tight end in NFL history.
He heard from his agent Friday night that things were a go. Davis is relieved to have this done before the season begins, thus avoiding entering free agency after 2010.
“It’s a beautiful thing, especially going into the season not worrying about it,” Davis said. “It’s not weighing heavy on my mind. Just go out on the field and continue to perform.”
A person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press that Davis will get $37 million overall, with $34 million guaranteed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract details were not released.
The contract is worth $3 million more in guaranteed money than San Diego’s Antonio Gates received.
“Being the highest paid tight end at my position says a lot but when it comes down to it I’m not playing the game for money. It’s about passion,” Davis said. “I didn’t let it get to me because the only thing I could focus on is football. One thing about me once the season starts, I’m 100 percent football and that’s all.”
Davis, entering his fifth NFL season, led the 49ers last season with 78 catches for 965 yards and 13 touchdowns, which matched Gates‘ NFL record for TDs by a tight end. Davis made his first Pro Bowl in 2009 and tied for the league lead in touchdown catches with Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald.
“I found myself saying this earlier this spring I couldn’t be happier for an individual to sign a contract extension and be with the 49ers for five more years, and that was Patrick Willis,” coach Mike Singletary said in a conference call Saturday night from Seattle. “Now that Vernon has signed, you’re talking about two of the finest players at their positions in the league. I’m very happy for Vernon because he deserves everything he gets.”
Davis has 181 receptions for 2,097 yards and 22 touchdowns in his career.
Selected sixth overall in 2006 out of Maryland, Davis started eight games as a rookie and has been a regular, when healthy, ever since. He also is a team captain, a good blocker as well as a threat over the middle and deep.
“Vernon is a guy, if you find a guy who comes in and he’s one of hardest working guys on your team if not the hardest working guy on your team, what’s going to change him?” Singletary said. “That’s been the mark of Vernon Davis since he got here.”
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