Singletary on the way

The 49ers have scheduled a news conference this afternoon to announce they have hired Hall of Famer Mike Singletary to become one of the team's lead defensive assistants.

Singletary will be introduced as the team's new assistant coach/linebackers coach.

Singletary, who established himself as one of the most ferocious linebackers in NFL history during his 12-year playing career with the Chicago Bears, broke into NFL coaching two years ago with the Baltimore Ravens.

In the two seasons they were together with the Ravens, Singletary made a big impression on then-Baltimore defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who was hired this week to become the 15th head coach in 49ers history.

"I'm trying like heck" to get Singletary to join the 49ers, Nolan said Thursday evening, when he still was in the process of interviewing Singletary. "We need to put up a roadblock and not let him get out of here."

That won't be necessary.

Singletary will be the first official hire to Nolan's staff of assistants, which won't have many holdover faces from Dennis Erickson's staff of 2004.

Singletary earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors twice and NFC Defensive Player of the Year honors three times during his legendary career with the Bears, which landed him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

He began his coaching career guiding Baltimore's inside linebackers in 2003, when one of his star pupils - Ray Lewis - was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Baltimore's rugged linebacker corps remained one of the NFL's best this past season.

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