SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Right tackle Anthony Davis was reinstated by the NFL on Saturday after an 11-month retirement that he planned to come back from all along.
The San Francisco 49ers made the announcement ahead of their first day of training camp Sunday under new coach Chip Kelly.
Davis was the 49ers' first-round draft choice, the 11th overall pick, in the 2010 draft out of Rutgers. He was affected by a concussion late in the 2014 season.
On June 5, 2015, at age 25, Davis announced his retirement in another surprising offseason departure last year for the 49ers. He became the fourth prominent San Francisco player to retire in a three-month span, joining linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland and defensive end Justin Smith. The announcement came four days before the team's mandatory June minicamp.
Also Saturday, San Francisco placed nose tackle Ian Williams on the reserve/non-football injury list.
Davis started all 71 games in which he had appeared, as well as eight playoff games. If at his previous top form, he could provide stability to an offensive line that lost Alex Boone to Minnesota in free agency. The line will be called upon to protect a starting quarterback still to be determined from a camp competition between healthy Colin Kaepernick — expected to practice Sunday after recovering from three surgeries — and Blaine Gabbert, promoted last November to the No. 1 job as Kaepernick was benched by then-coach Jim Tomsula.
Davis said in early December 2014 that he was able to drive home following a cross-country flight from New York in November that year despite feeling "loopy" from a concussion he didn't initially realize was so severe.
Davis was experiencing symptoms after he took an elbow to the head during the Nov. 16 victory against the Giants. He missed the next four games before returning for San Francisco's last two contests. The 49ers missed the playoffs after three consecutive trips and a Super Bowl loss after the 2012 season, then parted ways with now-Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
In January, Davis responded to a question on Twitter about a return to the 49ers with, "Guaranteed." In August last year, he posted this on Twitter: "When I return I'll be the best RT in the league again. Hands Down. #KnowYourself."
Davis didn't participate in the 49ers' offseason program and on April 1 posted on Twitter: "Dealing with Trent is giving me a headache" — likely in reference to general manager Trent Baalke.
When the subject came up during Baalke's sitdown with the media leading into the draft, he said: "Gave him a headache? It's like me speaking to you. A headache," the GM said.
"I'm not going to get into our conversations within the media. We've had several text messages back and forth and that's the extent of the conversations. Nothing more to add to it than that," Baalke said. "You have to ask him. It's voluntary (offseason program), No. 1. And he's not a member of the National Football League, No. 2. So he can't show up until he gets reinstated."
As for Williams, he is facing yet further ankle problems. On March 9, Williams reached agreement on a five-year deal that was restructured to a one-year contract once his doctors in Miami shared findings with the 49ers medical staff.
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