It's official: Singletary to coach linebackers

OWINGS MILLS – A Monster of the Midway has joined the Baltimore Ravens' staff. Ray Lewis, meet your new linebackers coach: Hall of Famer and tackling expert Mike Singletary. The Ravens hired the fiery former Chicago Bears middle linebacker on Thursday to fill the vacancy of Mike Smith, who joined Jack Del Rio's Jacksonville staff as defensive coordinator.

"In all honesty, I prayed over this decision," said Singletary, who delivered a motivational message to the Ravens' players prior to last season. "but I also knew what I was looking for. I wanted a team on the cutting edge, and one that was forward thinking.

 "Obviously, the Ravens have that. I wanted an organization committed to winning. When I was in Baltimore earlier this week, I knew this was the place for me."

Singletary reportedly agreed to a three-year contract although he has no coaching experience. Singletary, 44, had flirtations for past jobs at Baylor, his alma mater where he smashed 18 helmets, and the XFL. He has spent his retirement years working as a motivational speaker and with various businesses.

"Ronnie Lott and Mike Singletary were the two players I most admired," said Lewis, an All-Pro inside linebacker and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year. ‘I was thrilled when Mike spoke to our team a year ago. I am more thrilled today and can't wait to tap into his knowledge."

As a football player, there were no questions about Singletary's intensity whatsoever, or focus. One of his trademarks was the way he stared past the line of scrimmage with such zeal that the whites of his eyes were stretched to their capacity.

Singletary made 10 consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl in his 12 seasons before retiring in 1993. He was twice named NFL Defensive Player of the Year and finished his career with 1,488 tackles, 51 pass deflections, 13 fumble recoveries and seven interceptions.

Singletary played for Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, the father of Ravens defensive line coach Rex Ryan. Singletary headlined the Bears' Super Bowl XX defense that limited the New England Patriots to a record-low seven rushing yards.

The Ravens' Super Bowl defense broke the 1985 Bears' mark (187) for fewest points allowed in a 16-game regular season by surrendering just 165 points in 2000.

"We are excited about having someone of Mike Singletary's commitment and passion," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

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