Singletary from the other side

Niners coach Mike Singletary talks about growing up in Houston and gives his takes on a spectrum of topics while talking with Houston media before returning to his hometown to play the Texans on Sunday.

On coming to his hometown for the first time as a head coach: "I just think it's a tremendous opportunity to get on the road and come to Houston and see a lot of family and friends but the most important thing for us is preparing for a football game against a good football team."

On how many family members and friends are coming to the game: "I don't know. That's one of those things that I let my wife handle and I'm just going to keep that in my peripheral but I don't know at this time."

On if it's a big deal to his family that he'll be in Houston: "I think the most important part is the summers – it's just like I talk to our guys, when you have the offseason, that's the time that you be with your family and you spend time with them and I do that. So I get to Houston and make sure that I spend my family time with my family and enjoy that time. They understand as well as I do that right now, this is football season and I'm a coach and trying to get our team ready to play a football game and hopefully they get a chance to come out and watch but other than that, that's really all it is. It is a business trip for us."

On if as a young man he ever pictured himself coming back to Houston as a head coach; "Depends on how young you're talking about. I did think that at some point in time, after I retired, I felt that it could be a possibility if the right situation came along and I'm very thankful that the Lord just kind of worked out circumstances and they worked themselves out."

On what he wanted to be when he grew up: "I wanted to be the best linebacker ever."

On what his goals are as a coach: "Same thing."

On the idea that it's harder for great players to become coaches because they don't have as much patience: "I don't know, I can't answer that because I never considered myself a great player. I never considered myself a great athlete. I think when they make that statement they're talking about guys that are tremendous athletes and don't understand the work ethic that you have to get in order to really take it to the next level. Michael Jordan may be the only exception, or one of the few exceptions that I know of, maybe Jerry Rice is another, somebody that has ability, great athletic ability, and at the same time they work as if they don't. And for me, I had just enough ability to be a good football player and I wanted to be a great football player and that desire in me to work my tail off and make that happen was the other part. I think I'm able to identify with the great athlete because of some of the accolades that I have obtained but I also think I'm able to identify with that guy that's running down on special teams and that's the only thing he might ever do because that's what everybody told me about my ability, that that's what I would do."

On if he's saying that he doesn't cut slack for players that aren't willing to work hard: "Absolutely. And I think that's where the rubber hits the road. It's been very important to me – I've talked to a lot of players and I told them, don't tell me what you can't do, tell me what you won't do. Because I believe that anyone can do anything that they put their minds to."

On what he thinks about two former high school football stars from Houston coaching against each other: "Well it is Texas. And you love your football in Texans and I think it's just one of those things that, we're very fortunate, I was very fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life that taught me a lot about football and life and so it's pretty interesting that the roads would lead to this."

On what he learned from former Baylor head coach Grant Teaff that's helped him as a head coach: "I learned that as a coach it is just as important to let the players know you as a man and I think Coach Teaff taught daily lessons not so much in what he talked about but as how he lived. And I think Coach Teaff is one of the greatest men that I know and he's a guy that I continue to talk to this day and seek counsel and wisdom because he really is like my dad."

On if he ever envisioned eating a worm to fire up his team: "Like Coach Teaff I think you do what you have to do within the realms of sanity. I didn't think that was too far outside the line."

On if anything about coaching has surprised him: "The only thing in coaching is the media part of it that is a bit fascinating to me. But outside of that I'm having a great time."

On what he means when he says the media part of coaching is fascinating: "It's fascinating in terms of how the media is intertwined in coaching. They really know everything before the coaches do."

On if he didn't know that as a player: "I had no idea. Never paid attention to it."

On who, besides Grant Teaff, influenced him the most: "Probably my high school coach, Coach (Oliver) Brown, who will be at the game. He's been retired now maybe 15 years, something like that."

On what Coach Brown meant to him: "When my dad left, when I was 12 years old, Oliver Brown was a guy I met about maybe three, four years later and he was a strict disciplinarian in the way that he taught things. You'd have to go to the board and show him everything that he had taught you. And then he really pulled me aside and talked to me about how tough life was but at the same time the rewards of life, if you're willing to pay the price. And he was the guy that always taught me about work ethic and work ethic to me is everything. If you're willing to work, there's very little that you can't attain in life."

On if he can imagine where he'd be without Coach Brown's guidance: "It's a frightening thought. I just think that – the interesting thing about Coach Brown was he saw that there was something in me that I didn't even know I had and that was just a tremendous desire. And it's hard to tell when you're a young man growing up and you have something inside of you and you don't really know how to explain it and one day he pulled me aside and said, ‘Son, I want to tell you something,' he said, ‘There's something inside your heart and your soul that you have to learn how to get out.' And I was extremely quiet, as I am now, very quiet, but he said, ‘You don't say anything until you're about to explode.' And he said, ‘Mike, if that's the case, people are not going to listen to you. So when you go to college, and I want you to start now, I want you to take communication classes so that you can learn how to elaborate on the things that you're feeling and express those things because they're extremely valuable.' So that was the first step and that was just one thing of many things that he told me about life that I needed to do in order to become a better man."

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