Vernon Davis: Skipping OTAs in best interest of 'brand'


San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis has been willing to skip voluntary offseason workouts -- and his $200,000 bonus -- to pursue a new deal with the team that drafted him.

Mandatory minicamp might be next.

"I'm not sure at the moment," Davis told ESPN on Wednesday when asked if he'd join his teammates later this month. "I have to get with my agent and talk to him about that. We're just taking our time with this whole thing. We're still talking and just trying to come up with the best plan that we can go in and get things done."

For the Pro Bowl tight end, a desire to build his personal "brand" necessitated the decision. In April, Davis became the first athlete to sell stock tied to his career.

"Every decision that I make is in the best interest of my brand," Davis said during an appearance on Jay Mohr Sports radio show Wednesday.

"At the end of the day, sometimes we have to make a business decision," he continued. "And my decision is to work out on my own and focus on building my brand, as well as balancing everything out."

With two years remaining on the six-year, $42.7 million contract he signed in 2010, Davis is chasing a raise, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

"Possibly," Davis hinted Wednesday. "You know what? I like to handle things legitimately, and I feel like the best way to handle this is with the front office. I'd rather not talk about it on national television."

Davis, though, went out of his way to praise New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham as one peer who "deserves" wideout-level money.

Graham is sitting out OTAs after the NFL Players Association filed a grievance arguing that he should be franchised not as a tight end, but at the wide receiver price tag of $12.3 million.

Set to earn $4.7 million and $4.35 million over the next two seasons, Davis told SI Now's Maggie Gray on Wednesday that he'll be watching Graham's situation closely.

"Woohoo! That works for me!" Davis said of Graham's potential pay day. "... You know what? I'm a tight end. I'm a tight end. But I must say, if it happens, then I'm sure every tight end's going to try to follow behind Jimmy Graham."

UPDATE: On Thursday, Davis reversed course to hint that he would, indeed, attend minicamp. "If it's mandatory, I think I should be there," he told's Bill Williamson, who wrote that the 49ers tight end "wasn't fully committing to anything, but it seems like he understands (the) ramifications of missing minicamp."

Hang tight, people. This will figure itself out soon enough.

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