Mike Singletary spoke at length on Monday regarding what happened on Sunday between he and tight end Vernon Davis, who he eventually directed to leave the field in the fourth quarter.
Prior to the game, Singletary explained that he had sat down with Davis to talk about the tight end stepping up and providing leadership for the team. Singletary heard assurances from
Davis that he was ready to do so, but it wasn't what he witnessed on Sunday when his tight end was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
"The very thing I was just talking about a couple of days ago, you do, and not only that, you come off the sideline and it's like what's the problem. It just hit me wrong."
Singletary witnessed exactly what transpired between Davis and safety Brian Russell, and did assess that his tight end was only joking around. But a penalty is a penalty, and one that Singletary doesn't plan to tolerate.
"If the referees make a decision, it's right," said Singletary. "I don't want anybody arguing with the referee, that's not your job - all your going to do is play. Am I frustrated? Is there something that I'd really like to say to the referee about the call or whatever? Yeah, I mean we all would like to say what we'd want to say, we all would like to choke them at times, but you know what, they've got a job to do. That's their job and I haven't seen yet where they change their minds. I just think it's better just to walk away, back off, move on [and] go to the next play. So to me that's what it's all about. It's not about 'Well see, he didn't do it hard', He did it and they called it so you live with it."
Davis probably would have sat out only for a play or two to cool his heels after the foul, but his nonchalance over the infraction further incited his coach.
"One just fed off the other. It was the initial reaction when he came off the field. I just had to say 'what were you thinking' and didn't we just talk about that?' That was going to be it."
But when Davis didn't immediately acknowledge what he'd done wrong and then sat on the bench complaining, Singletary decided his tight end didn't need to return to the game period.
For his part, Davis said he didn't mean to intentionally ignore Singletary coming off the field on Sunday.
"The thing about me, when I get heated, I just want to be myself. I didn't really hear him calling me at the time," explained Davis. "I was just in another world, because I had everybody else saying something, I really didn't hear anybody else talking. I didn't say anything to coach, I pretty much listened to what he said. He told me to sit down, I sat down."
Singletary followed a course of action he felt was necessary, but insisted that it's not personal, and that it won't linger.
"It's not that he's out of my good graces. I don't have a doghouse. It's not like that at all. To me, he just crossed the line and he needs to understand it. I just want him to understand it can't happen. It can't happen. It's really as simple as that. I won't play games with the doghouse, or I'm not talking to him."
The two did sit down later on Monday afternoon to hash out things.
"He pretty much told me that I have to be aware of what is going on the field, if someone says something to me, I can't let it bother me," said Davis. "I have to be bigger than them. I agree. I shouldn't have retaliated."
Although Singletary talked about having cancers on a team, he insisted that Davis does not fall into that category.
"Vernon is not a problem. Vernon is not a problem guy. Vernon just forgets sometimes that the team is more important. Vernon is not a guy who doesn't come to practice. You have to tell Vernon, 'Don't hurt the guy, that's your teammate.' He works his tail off. You don't have a problem with Vernon in that way. You just sometimes have to remind Vernon of not hurting the team. He is not a guy who is a distraction on the team. Yesterday, he was somewhat of a distraction. But everyone knows Vernon. I just did what I did so that he wasn't a distraction. Just go in and take a shower, relax."
That was good news to the 49ers tight end, who was upset over the implication immediately following the game that he wasn't a team player.
"I know that I'm a team guy. I asked him about that comment he made," said Davis. "He actually told me he didn't mean that. He knows that I'm a team guy, I am. My teammates know it, I love my teammates, I love the coaches, I think they're doing a good job. I would never do anything to hurt my teammates or put them in any kind of trouble."