Singletary not focused on facing former team
November 11, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO – Mike Singletary became a Hall of Fame linebacker with the Chicago Bears during a 12-year career spent all with the same club. Photos of Singletary and his Monsters of the Midway brethren still hang in the linebackers meeting room, reminders of the Bears’ special 1985 Super Bowl season.
“He’s obviously one of the great leaders to walk these halls,” Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs said.
For Singletary, this is no time to turn nostalgic.
He would rather not reflect too much on his time with the Bears. He has few ties there anymore and finding a way to beat his former team is all he can think about right now.
Singletary’s 49ers (3-5) are desperate to get back on track, mired in a four-game losing streak that dropped them two games out of first place in the NFC West after they led the division only a month ago and were talking playoffs.
“The Bears will always be a team that I love,” Singletary said. “The Bears, so many friends, family, memories, that goes without saying. … I’m glad this is not the first time I am playing the Bears because that would be tough. Now that I have played them a couple times, it’s just a matter of going out there and competing against a good football team and trying to do the best I can.”
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Singletary’s goals for his team haven’t changed, but it will take an impressive climb to get back in the postseason mix. Singletary liked how his offense played aside from the costly mistakes.
He still believes the 49ers will pull out of this funk, and be better having gone through it.
“In these moments, this is when I am at my best because in these situations you just have to rise above and you have to put your best foot forward,” Singletary said. “You have to be positive. You have to look at where things are and just call it what it is. I can’t get lost in the reality of the four losses. It’s not something that you want.”
The Bears (4-4) are trying to find their way, too, following a 41-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Both teams had little time to game plan with the quick turnaround.
Chicago’s defense was exposed.
“We’re in need of a real attitude adjustment,” Briggs said.
San Francisco’s offense was sloppy. Quarterback Alex Smith threw three interceptions, including two in the final 6:24 of a 34-27 home loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. He also was sacked four times.
Smith is eager to get the offense back on track, but the Bears are certain to be fired up after Niners tight end Vernon Davis did some trash-talking.
“I think we can destroy their front,” Davis said Tuesday. “The guys up front, I think we can destroy them. I don’t see anything spectacular about their front line.”
Davis, a captain, later felt the need to explain his comments via his twitter account.
“I know people are talking about what I said today. I wasn’t trying to take a shot at the Bears. I was showing confidence in my team,” he wrote.
Singletary would be happy about that, just probably not the way Davis did it.
It was while Singletary still lived in the Windy City that, after a lot of soul searching and prayer, he decided he did want to become a coach after all. He had to leave his adopted city to make it happen, but not before Singletary called the Bears first to see if they happened to have an opening.
“When I knew we were going to be coaching, the thing that I did was I called Dick Jauron, who was then at the Bears, the head coach,” Singletary said. “And, I told Dick Jauron exactly this: ‘Coach, my wife and I prayed about it, we’ve decided that we’re going to be coaching. I’m not asking you for a job, but I am telling you that this year, in the very near future, I will be coaching. I don’t know where, don’t know when.’ And, that was it.”
When Jauron called back some time later to say they didn’t have a position for him, Singletary accepted a job as inside linebackers coach in Baltimore working for Brian Billick in 2003. And that’s where he stayed until coming to San Francisco to join former coach Mike Nolan’s staff in 2005.
“He just let me know that I’m not supposed to be there,” Singletary said of Jauron, now coaching the Buffalo Bills. “So that was it.”
Not that Singletary is forgotten in Chicago. Quarterback Jay Cutler has said he was a Bears fan as a little boy even back to the time when Singletary was still playing.
Bears defensive tackle Anthony Adams, a former 49er who played for Singletary, knows the coach will be ready.
“It will be big for him,” Adams said. “He was always telling us how the Niners would always find a way to beat them. He said it always seemed like Joe Montana and them just had his number. Now for him to be a part of it is kind of different, but he accepted the challenge.”
While Singletary doesn’t want to get caught up in the hype of him facing his old team, the Bears have other things to think about as well.
They still consider themselves a playoff team.
“We have to be able to bounce back, show some toughness, band together as a team and try to get a win on the road,” defensive back Nathan Vasher said.