Biggs: Singletary called Bears when he got coaching itch
In a week when Lovie Smith’s approval among Chicago Bears fans is at an all-time low, the team is gearing up to face one of the organization’s greats for the first time, at least the first time since Mike Singletary has been a head coach.
The Bears (4-4) travel to San Francisco Thursday for the kickoff of the NFL Network’s coverage of games in a game in which the loser might be able to kiss the postseason goodbye. The 49ers (3-5) have lost four straight games and the Bears have dropped three of their last four, getting blown out by Cincinnati and Arizona by a combined total of 55 points.
Singletary, known as Samurai Mike, isn’t exactly the hottest coach working given the 49ers’ slide out of first place in the NFC West, but he remains popular in Chicago and has the passion, fire and demeanor that fans associate with Mike Ditka, the only coach to win a Super Bowl in franchise history. Singletary called the Bears when he decided to get into the coaching fraternity but was rebuffed by the team he led for more than a decade.
“Well, I’ll put it this way: 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 told reporters in San Francisco on Monday. “And, I told Dick Jauron exactly this, I said, ‘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.
“He said, ‘Well, Mike, good. Let me get back to you and see what’s happening here.’ And I said, ‘Once again, I understand, I’m not asking. If there’s something there, great, but let’s just not do something just to do it.’ So, he got back to me eventually and just said, ‘Mike, the way things are here, it just looks like it’s going to be a tough situation to work out.’ I said, ‘Fantastic. I thank you.’ And he just let me know that I’m not supposed to be there. So, that was it.”
SIngletary got his first job in coaching in 2003, working with the inside linebackers in Baltimore on Brian Billick’s staff. It was the final season for Jauron with the Bears. But the team did bring back one popular player and add him to the staff that season. Richard Dent, the MVP of Super Bowl XX, was hired as an assistant defensive line coach.
If the Bears lose Thursday, cries to replace Smith who has gone 20-20 since losing Super Bowl XLI, will increase. But it doesn’t look like Singletary will be in position to lead the Bears any time soon, and the game doesn’t have any special meaning to him.
“Not in particular,’’ he said. “I’m just excited for the game. But, not emotions outside of the emotions that I have for any other team.”
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