SAN JOSE, Calif. — Through another round of hires, Greg Roman's phone didn't ring. The Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator was bypassed for the likes of Doug Pederson, Chip Kelly, Hue Jackson, Mike Mularkey and Ben McAdoo. Bad news for him, but good news for a Bills offense entering Year 2 in his multi-dimensional offense.
One of Roman's key chess pieces in San Francisco, tight end Vernon Davis, offered a strong vote of confidence on Thursday.
“He’s creative. Very creative," said Davis, who's now in Denver. "And he socializes with his teammates. He keeps it all business but then he has a side to him where he’s just a good dude. I had a grand opening of my art gallery out here in San Jose and he came to support me. He kind of fits the mold of a head guy. He’ll be a great head coach one day because he has those qualities.
"I was very appreciative of him and thankful to have him because he impacted my life, my career in his tenure as a 49er.”
Once Roman took over in San Francisco, quarterback Alex Smith's slumping career was revived with a efficient 2011 season, Smith was eventually usurped by the dynamic Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers adjusted all along with three straight NFC Championship appearances.
No, Davis wasn't always this complimentary of Roman. He once blamed a lackluster 2014 season on "game planning," adding "I wasn't really ever a factor in the offense." That 2014 season, Davis caught only 26 passes for 245 yards and was then traded to Denver midway through the 2015 season.
In retrospect, thinking back as his 49er days, Davis had a different tune on Thursday. The tight end said that Roman knows "how to get the right personnel" in the game and then use "an outstanding scheme depending on the defense." And in Roman's very TE-friendly offense, Davis did have a lot of success, hauling in 52 receptions for 850 yards and 13 scores in 2013.
Certain individuals possess leadership qualities, Davis explained. He mentions Joe Montana, Peyton Manning. And in Roman, Davis sees a future head coach.
"He’s still learning, still gaining more knowledge and some of the natural qualities he has, it’ll translate into him being an awesome head coach," Davis said.
"It’ll happen. It’s not his time. Everything happens at the right time. We don’t get to where we are overnight. It’s a process. So with him, it’s a process. And you can tell him I said it. I love G-Ro. He’s amazing, man. His integrity, his character, everything about him just inspires me. I had a great relationship with him when he was here. I strongly believe in my heart that he’ll be a wonderful head coach.”
Maybe Roman's value was most evident after he left San Francisco and Kaepernick's play dissolved. A supposed trend-setting quarterback blistering defenses one bicep kiss at a time was suddenly benched for Blaine Gabbert.
Said Davis, “He had a huge impact on Colin’s success. He’ll be a great head coach one day.”
Thus, Davis views Roman and Tyrod Taylor as a great fit in Buffalo.
As for his own game? The 32-year-old Davis is still playing. He's back in San Francisco with a chance to win a Super Bowl. Don't bring your "last rodeo" narrative here. The 245-pound Davis repeats he can still run a "4.3" in the 40-yard dash.
When nearby teammate Cody Latimer chimes in with doubt, Davis snipes back.
“Oh yeah, I can beat you!" he said. "Put your money where your mouth is. Too bad we can’t gamble, Cody.”
After coming up short against Baltimore four years ago, Davis gets another Super Bowl shot Sunday.
“It’s amazing," he said. "I can’t wait to get an opportunity to get in there and play.”