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Vernon Davis now playing for 49ers, not his 'brand'

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What a difference a year makes.

Vernon Davis forfeited a $200,000 workout bonus and racked up a $70,000 fine last summer after skipping 49ers OTAs in an effort to develop his own brand.

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"Every decision I make is in the best interest of my brand," Davis explained at the time. "At the end of the day, we sometimes have to make a business decision. And my decision is to work out on my own and focus on building my brand."

Davis has since experienced an epiphany, cutting ties with the financial adviser who advised his ill-fated holdout.

"You know what, I fired that person because he worships money," Davis said, via the Sacramento Bee. "That's not what I worship.

"That's not who I am. That's not what I stand for. I don't do anything for money. I don't let money represent me. That's just not me. I play for the love of the game. And that's the beauty of this sport -- it's that about the love, the teammates, your coaches."

Davis is now approaching the game from a different mindset.

The surprising retirements of former teammates Patrick Willis and Anthony Davis have helped Davis understand that his own playing days are liable to end unexpectedly.

Davis' epiphany isn't the only reason to believe he will bounce back in strong fashion from a career-worst 2014 season.

Teammates and coaches noted that Davis looked "extremely fast" and was stretching the field again in offseason practices.

"Right now, I feel like a rookie," Davis said Friday, "feel faster, more explosive ... been taking care of myself."

Although a lingering back injury surely had a deleterious effect on his production, Davis attributes his disappointing 2014 season to a marked change in game planning.

With his head screwed on straight, his body refreshed and a more prominent role in new coordinator Geep Chryst's offense, Davis is a candidate to recapture Pro Bowl form in 2015.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Tom Brady's lawsuit and debates which veteran players are most likely to be cut.

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