July 18, 2003
SINGLETARY FOCUSED ON SEASON
From the NFL
When Mike Singletary was named linebackers coach of the Baltimore Ravens in February, more than 10 years after his 12-year Hall of Fame career as a middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears came to an end, he wanted to make one thing clear.
Although he did not have any coaching experience to date, the former two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year declared that his new position is by no means an “experiment” in coaching.
“I’m not trying to coach; I’m going to coach,” said Singletary, awaiting the opening of Ravens camp on July 27. “This is not an experiment. Anything I do, I’m going to do with all my heart and all my mind and all my soul.”
After graduating from Baylor University, Singletary was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 1981 NFL Draft (No. 38 overall). He would go on to record 1,488 tackles in his career and was chosen to 10 consecutive Pro Bowls from 1983-92, the most ever by a Bears player.
Singletary’s 172 starts were the most by a defensive player in Bears history and 12 shy of Walter Payton’s team mark. A member of the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1980s, Singletary led the ’85 Bears defense that set a then-NFL record for a 16-game season by allowing 187 points. The ’85 Bears defeated the New England Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX.
For the past 10 years, Singletary has spent his time raising his children with his wife, Kim, while leading motivational seminars for audiences that ranged from corporate executives to the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV championship team.
With Baltimore on its way to breaking the record of the Bears’ ’85 defense for points allowed in a season (165), head coach Brian Billick invited Singletary to address the team following a late-season victory.
“Mike stood in front of a veteran group and you could see them riveted,” said Billick. “It occurred to me then if he decided to coach, what an impact he could make.”
Singletary will take over a linebacker corps anchored in the middle by five-time Pro Bowl selection Ray Lewis, who has drawn comparisons to Singletary. Lewis is joined by three-time Pro Bowler Peter Boulware and rising star Edgerton Hartwell.
Billick believes that Singletary’s lack of coaching experience – it is the first time the team has hired a position coach without coaching experience – will not be an issue, due to his work as a public speaker and his playing experience.
“What Mike has done over the past 10 years is teaching,” Billick said. “And that’s what coaching is. As a player, you bring a perspective and understanding of the game. The other element of coaching is being able to grasp the entire scope of offense, defense, whatever it is you’re working with, and communicating it. Mike has those credentials, and that’s what led me to believe he can make that transition.
“You can see the passion he has for the game.”
Ravens’ defensive coordinator Mike Nolan echoed Billick’s judgment.
“I think he’s going to add insight to our coaching staff,” Nolan said. “He played the game for a long time at a high level and the insight that goes with that will be invaluable to our players and to our coaching staff, as well.”
As he prepares to take on his new duties, Singletary has the enthusiasm that was evident throughout his Hall of Fame playing career.
“I’m really looking forward to just smelling the grass in training camp,” Singletary said. “Getting in the mix and seeing players move from Point A to Point B as players and as men.”