October 26, 2008
Mike Singletary didn't take too long to let his presence be known in San Francisco. In his coaching debut with the 49ers, the Hall of Fame linebacker benched quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan and sent tight end Vernon Davis to the locker room following a personal foul penalty. Then, in his post-game press conference following a 21-point loss, Singletary went on a soon-to-be-classic diatribe about the player he ejected from the field:
"[As for] Vernon, it was something I told everyone at the beginning of the week. I will not tolerate players who think it's about them when it's about the team. And we cannot make decisions that cost the team and then come off the sideline nonchalant. No. You know what? This is what I believe, I'm from the old school. I would rather play with ten people and just get penalized all the way until we gotta do something else rather than play with 11 when right now that person is not sold out to be a part of this team. I told him he would do a better job for us to take a shower and watch the game on the sidelines rather than take the field."
That's about as much as you'll ever hear a coach talk bad about a player. It's refreshing and, as Singletary said, old school. We love it and wished it happened more often. But it will be interesting to see how this plays out in San Fran's locker room. The fire and brimstone approach was alright in Singletary's day, but it (unfortunately) doesn't seem to be as effective on players cashing quarter-million dollar paychecks every week.
Davis was flagged with a personal foul after a fairly-innocuous upwards tap of a Seattle defenders helmet. It was unncessary, but wasn't as dumb as half a dozen plays that other guys made today. Still, Singletary went off on the sidelines to a seemingly-disinterested Davis. That only appeared to make the new coach even angrier. After sending him to the bench, Singeltary thought better of it and banished Davis to the locker room. Davis, it should be noted, looked somewhat remorseful while walking off the field.
Aftetr the game, Singletary began his presser with an apology before beginning his rant. That sentence about playing with ten rather than eleven, by the way, is destined to be up there with "diddly-poo", "playoffs??!" and "we let 'em off the hook" in the pantheon of NFL coaching rants.
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