The 49ers made a big addition to their roster on Thursday, the same day veterans reported for the start of training camp. Listed at 6-foot-6, 375 pounds, three-time Pro Bowler Leonard Davis instantly became the heaviest player on the team upon signing his one-year deal.
Davis, who spent the 2011 season with Detroit following four seasons in Dallas and six years in Arizona, figures to jump into the training camp competition for the starting right guard spot. Alex Boone and Daniel Kilgore are among the players vying for the position after Adam Snyder signed a free-agent deal with Arizona this offseason.
"I definitely want to compete," Davis said. "If I didn't want to compete, I wouldn't be here; I would just hang it up and retire. But I'm a competitive person and when I say I'm not going to do something or I don't want to do it anymore, I want to do it with no regrets."
Davis said he feels most comfortable at the left guard position, but that he's willing to do whatever helps the team. Though he didn't appear in any games for the Lions last season, Davis said he's never doubted his ability to contribute at a high level in the NFL.
"I took it as a challenge," Davis said. "I just said, 'Hey, even though I'm not starting, I'm still going to compete to start.'"
The free agent addition knows what it takes to start and succeed in the NFL. He earned three consecutive Pro Bowl berths from 2007-09, establishing himself as a mauling run-blocker and effective athlete in the trenches. He also helped Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in pass protection during that span, helping him average nearly 270 passing yards per game.
Davis, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2001 NFL Draft, has been staying in shape on his own after visiting the 49ers facility in March. He said San Francisco was the only team he visited throughout the offseason.
Under the direction of offensive line coaches Mike Solari and Tim Drevno, the veteran lineman is eager to get back to the practice field for one of the NFL's top teams.
"I was hoping it was going to happen sooner," Davis said. "But they had decisions to make and at the time, me not being here was the best decision. But right now I'm here and I'm glad to be here and glad to be part of the team and help the team be successful."
After watching the 49ers get to the doorstep of the Super Bowl last year, Davis said he has lofty expectations for his new team in 2012. He's also relishing the opportunity to block for respected veterans like Frank Gore and Brandon Jacobs, saying he fits in well with the smash-mouth style of running game offensive coordinator Greg Roman used last season.
"I watched them play a lot and they're tough guys who play physical," Davis said. "There's no dancing around. They're just a bunch of guys that are hard-nosed guys that love to play football."
Davis joins cornerback Tarell Brown as the only 49ers to be alumni of the storied University of Texas football program. The ex-Longhorn played and started in 155 games from 2001-2010 before serving a second-stringer last season.
Football isn't the only thing Davis is known for. Along with two of his former teammates on the Dallas offensive line, Davis plays bass in a heavy metal band called Free Reign, which was signed to a record deal in 2009.
But after inking the dotted line with the 49ers, his sole focus is on bringing a sixth Lombardi Trophy to the 49ers.
"If you don't have those kinds of expectations, you really shouldn't be playing," Davis said. "Just being honest."