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Niners tight end Davis impressed by QB Smith

SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis believes the NFL lockout has been good for Alex Smith but he said the veteran quarterback is "on his last straw" with the team.

Taking a break from an informal workout at San Jose State on Thursday, Davis repeatedly praised Smith, whom he says has matured this offseason.

Davis was among about two dozen players who have attended the workouts led by Smith, a free agent who plans to re-sign with San Francisco when the lockout ends. That included wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who did not practice much because of a sore foot.

Crabtree questioned Smith's status as the starter earlier in the offseason and downplayed the quarterback's efforts to organize workouts. Smith, however, shot down rumors that the two players were at odds and even called the third-year receiver to make sure everything was OK.

That's one of the reasons Davis is convinced Smith is ready to turn his career around.

"His approach to this whole thing, his approach to the game, his approach to the team (has changed)," Davis said. "I can see him evolving into a leader. He knows that he's on his last straw. He's got some competition and he has to get things done."

The 49ers used their second-round pick in this year's draft to get Nevada's Colin Kaepernick but first-year coach Jim Harbaugh persuaded Smith to return for another shot with the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2005.