Vernon Davis explains how Jim Harbaugh changed 49ers' culture

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Davis explains how Harbaugh changed 49ers' culture as coach originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Vernon Davis had three coaches -- Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary and Jim Harbaugh -- over his 10 years with the 49ers. While he certainly has memories of both Nolan and Singletary, neither compare to Harbaugh. 

"Yeah, Harbaugh coming in, he totally changed the culture and the dynamic of our team," Davis said to former 49ers teammates Joe Staley and Takeo Spike on "Players' Only," which will air Sunday, Oct. 3 at 12 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area. 

Harbaugh became the 49ers' head coach ahead of the 2011 season. They went 6-10 in 2010 and hadn't made the playoffs since 2002. As Davis said, everything changed with Harbaugh at the helm. 

In Harbaugh's first season in San Francisco, the 49ers went 13-3 -- their most wins since 1997 -- to win the NFC West. Harbaugh was named the NFL's Coach of the Year, and the 49ers lost to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game.

He led the 49ers to the Super Bowl the next season, a 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and again to the NFC Championship Game in his third season with the Niners. But the 49ers again fell short. 

The 49ers went 8-8 and failed to make the playoffs in Harbaugh's fourth season. That also wound up being his last, as he and CEO Jed York clashed. Harbaugh then became the head coach at his alma mater, the University of Michigan, a position he still holds. 

Davis was part of the 49ers for all four of Harbaugh's seasons as head coach. The tight end averaged 608.7 receiving yards and 6.5 touchdowns under Harbaugh, and was named to the Pro Bowl for the final time in 2013.

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"Our first time making it to the playoffs was a beautiful thing, because we had never been until Harbaugh arrived," Davis said. "Being able to do that and play for Harbaugh, who had so much energy -- I remember Harbaugh walking in and he said, 'Each day you guys wake up, you should have the enthusiasm unknown to mankind.'

"That's something that really stuck with me throughout the course of my career and throughout my life now. Just having him as such an inspirational and positive influence as a coach really made a difference on that team."

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