We're 28 days away from the veteran report date for 49ers training camp, which means we're probably 28 days away from the next step in the Alex Boone and Vernon Davis holdouts. One or both could get a new contract before training camp, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen. In the meantime, we get to hear all sorts of opinions about the topic.
Mike Singletary and Richard Sherman are the latest to weigh in on the subject of Vernon Davis's holdout. Sherman was at a recent event in Virginia where he was asked about Davis's holdout. Steve Gallo asked Sherman what kind of advice he would have for Davis (at the 9:29 mark):
Do what you believe. If he believes in what he’s doing, you got to stick to it. You can’t be wishy-washy in this situation. And it sounds like he’s standing his ground. So if you’re going to stand your ground, stand your ground. But if you’re going to cave, cave. You can’t stand your ground half the time and then go, because that’s when they get you. That’s when you don’t get that deal you want. So I think he’s doing it the way he intended. He’s really valuable to his team, so I’m sure they’ll get together on something.
Mike Singletary was recently on NFL Network's Total Access, and there are a couple articles out there about his comments (Branch, Inman). Singletary emphasized the need for Davis to maintain communication with the team. He said that is the definining factor of a holdout. Singletary's time in San Francisco was not pretty, but one of the few good things to come of it was that he got Vernon Davis focused on being a great football player. We've all heard Singletary's "Can't win with 'em" speech too many times to count. He kicked Davis off the field, and since then, Davis has been the consummate pro for the 49ers.
One thing that is of note for Singletary's comments is the fact that he has experience with holdouts. He was head coach when Michael Crabtree held out at the start of his rookie season. More importantly, Singletary held out his rookie season with the Chicago Bears. It's safe to say he knows a thing or two about holdouts.
It was interesting though that he suggested Harbaugh speak out on Vernon's behalf. Harbaugh has been known to speak out on behalf of player contracts. He's spoken out for Dashon Goldson, Josh Morgan, Phil Dawson and Colin Kaepernick. I'm sure I've missed others, but these were some of the more notable comments he has made. We have not really heard much from Harbaugh about paying Davis. During OTAs he repeatedly emphasized that they were voluntary, so it was no big deal. When Davis was not present at minicamp, Harbaugh said he was disappointed, and did not see the decision (of both Davis and Boone) being part of the 49er way he envisioned. He later said he was not trying to call anybody out, but obviously he was not pleased they were absent.
I don't know that any lack of support from Jim Harbaugh will make a difference for these holdouts, particularly that of Vernon Davis, but it's an interesting dynamic nonetheless. We probably won't hear anything from Coach Harbaugh between now and the opening of training camp, so we'll just have to wait a little longer on this.