Images of Mike Singletary’s eyes gazing – no, blazing – from behind his facemask as he diagnosed plays are a lasting impression from his Hall of Fame career as a middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears.
He has carried that singular – not to mention intense – approach to his role as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
Case in point: Singletary’s reaction this morning when asked about the 49ers perceiving the NFC West as being “our division” because QB Kurt Warner has retired from the Arizona Cardinals and the Seahawks have made a coaching change from Jim Mora to Pete Carroll.
“I think Seattle, just like everybody else, feels they have to get the people that give them the best chance to win,” Singletary said this morning after his podium stint at the NFL scouting combine. “But, once again, it doesn’t matter who’s there.
“I just think it’s very important for us to really look at what we’re doing and really pay close attention to what we’re doing and make sure that we’re ready to go.”
The “once again” tag came from a question Singletary was asked at the podium about Warner’s retirement bringing the two-time division champion Cardinals back to the pack – especially after the 49ers swept the Cardinals last season.
“It’s a big mistake for us, we can’t afford to look around at anybody and say, ‘Oh yeah, this is our division,’ ” he said. “Entitlement is the quickest way out. So I think we’re going to work harder, smarter than we did last year and just do the very best we can to prepare to go out and compete.
“The thing we have to do in San Francisco is to make sure we are not looking at Seattle, we are not looking at what happened in Seattle; we are not looking at what happened at Arizona. I don’t care about those things.
“I’m thinking it’s ‘our’ division before you get Kurt Warner out. I was hoping we were thinking that way last year, and thinking that was this year. I want to think that way every year.”