Anthony Davis hasn’t played in an NFL game since the end of the 2014 season. The former San Francisco 49ers’ lineman has yet to file for reinstatement after stepping away, but has constantly hinted that he’ll be back.
He did more than just hint on Saturday in a since deleted tweet, responding to a fan’s inquiry.
Leaving nothing uncertain, Davis said “I will play ball. They won’t be selling my jersey any time soon,” per CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, who also noted that the 49ers still maintain Davis’ contractual rights.
The positive end of this for San Francisco is that they had one of the league’s worst offensive lines in 2015 by basically any measure. At one point, ESPN’s Mark Schlereth said that it was the worst offensive line play he’d seen in 15 years. Even accounting for some regression that would come with him missing a full year, Davis would likely be an upgrade.
Unfortunately, there are negatives, too.
Davis is a headache. He’s spent a lot of time blasting the 49ers this offseason, making the team’s front office seem sympathetic — not an easy thing to do.
Additionally, the way that he left is likely to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of at least some teammates. It would be hard to credibly criticize a player for looking out for his health and stepping away for a year. But Davis stepped away in June of 2015, well after the draft, and realistically, well after all of the decent free agent options were already signed.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Davis’ couldn’t have much trade value right now if the 49ers wanted to go down that route.
Anthony Davis may well play ball, but he’ll have an awful lot to prove if that happens.