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Anthony Davis returned to the NFL in better shape than when he abruptly left but still no more sure of how long he wants to keep playing football. The former Rutgers and Piscataway High School star practiced Sunday with the San Francisco 49ers for the...

Anthony Davis, former Rutgers star, returns to 49ers: Best playing days 'ahead of me'

Anthony Davis returned to the NFL in better shape than when he abruptly left but still no more sure of how long he wants to keep playing football. The former Rutgers and Piscataway High School star practiced Sunday with the San Francisco 49ers for the...

Anthony Davis, former Rutgers star, returns to 49ers: Best playing days 'ahead of me'

Anthony Davis returned to the NFL in better shape than when he abruptly left but still no more sure of how long he wants to keep playing football.

The former Rutgers and Piscataway High School star practiced Sunday with the San Francisco 49ers for the first time since his reinstatement was approved.

"I just want to be healthy and feel good," Davis told reporters, including USA TODAY. "That was my main focus -- just getting my body to a point where it's healthy and everything is functioning at the highest level."

The 6-foot-5 offensive tackle revealed that he weighs 332 pounds, down from his former high of 370.

"I don't know how I played at that weight, either," Davis said after reportedly practicing as the third-team right tackle.

Davis, 26, stunningly announced a temporary hiatus -- it was called a retirement even though he made it clear at the time that he planned to return -- in June 2015 because he needed time for his "brain and body to heal" from an injury-plagued season.

Rutgers weight gains: LBs lead way

After being the No. 11 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft -- highest for a Rutgers product -- Davis started 71 games at right tackle for the 49ers, including all 64 in his first four seasons. He was sidelined by a concussion for four games during the 2014 season.

Asked Sunday how long he wants to play in the NFL, Davis said he didn't know, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. But he believes he can regain his old form.

"Oh," Davis said when asked if his best play is yet to come, "it is ahead of me."

How long does Anthony Davis want to play in NFL? RT said he didn't know. #49ers

— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) July 31, 2016

Davis was a regular guest at Rutgers training camp last August because of his close relationship with then-coach Kyle Flood.

As it became clear in recent months that he wanted to return to the field, rumors surfaced that he could fill a need for the hometown Giants.

But the 49ers maintained Davis' contractual rights. He had to repay the team some money for not playing in 2015, but Sunday he refused to say how much because he didn't "want to make people sick," according to the Sacramento Bee.

Anthony Davis declined to disclose how much money he had to give back by missing last season. "I don't want to make people sick," he said.

— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) July 31, 2016

First-year 49ers coach Chip Kelly told reporters that he spoke with Davis once during the offseason but their first "real conversation" was when they spent some time together Saturday.

"I told him he has a blank slate just like every other player and every other coach here," Kelly said. "We're all new. I wasn't here in the past. He did a really good job in his conditioning test, so I'm excited to see him on the field."

Added Kelly, "You can tell -- just watching him him move around -- he's worked. It's not like he woke up one day last week and said, 'Hey, I think I want to play football again.' He's been doing something."

Anthony Davis in first NFL practice in 18 months. #49ers https://t.co/5h5VrN1PTP

— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) July 31, 2016

Kelly said he is "real confident" in and "encouraged" by Davis' commitment.

"I've never been with A.D. before," Kelly said. "It's not fair to him for me to have some preconceived idea of what he is because of something that was written or something that he said. On day one, respect is given. Over time time, trust is earned."

Davis' teammates appear ready to forgive any grudges -- at least publicly -- stemming from the way he left them last season and for not participating in offseason team activities in the spring.

"I'm excited he's able to be back with the football team and just speaking with him for the last two days now, he's real excited to be back here, too," offensive tackle Joe Staley told reporters.

Davis also owned up to some of his perceived mistakes, like calling out 49ers general manager Trent Baalke on Twitter.

"That was me trying to manipulate emotions to get what I wanted at that time," Davis said. "It doesn't matter now. I'm here, I'm happy and we're moving forward."

Davis also has criticized the styles of former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano and former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in the past. Why would Baalke be excluded?

"Me and Trent, we get into it sometimes," Davis said. "But our relationship is fine. I feel we have a special relationship. Sometimes we bump heads and we get past it. We understand each other."

Ryan Dunleavy may be reached at rdunleavy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @rydunleavy. Find NJ.com Rutgers Football on Facebook.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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