Gold Jacket Spotlight: Mike Singletary one special and prepared Bear
"When you came out of the huddle and up to the line and looked at him, he had that look in his eyes that he knew what you were going to do. It was uncanny," New England Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan, whom the Bears defeated in Super Bowl XX, told the Boston Globe. "He had the idea of what you were going to do, and he made the plays that way."
That look and the man behind it step into this week's Gold Jacket Spotlight.
While most opponents couldn't watch Mike's pregame preparations, they were exposed to his penetrating stare across the line of scrimmage.
"The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bears: A Decade-by-Decade History" noted, "Singletary's eyes remain etched in the memory of anyone who watched on television or lined up across from him. The eyes looked through the quarterback, through the play, through the ball carrier. More than once, Singletary looked right into the other team's huddle and shouted out its plays as the reels of videotape rewound in his mind's eye."
Seemingly knowing what the upcoming play would offer on many occasions, Mike processed that preparatory knowledge into action. Action that was explosive.
"Mike is like a machine you wind up, and he goes and explodes out there," teammate Otis Wilson once said.
Detroit Lions center Kevin Glover once said, "(Singletary) did all the necessary preparation before he went on the field to get that slight edge. I'm always asked who the best players are, and I always mention him as probably being the hardest hitter I ever played against. He was one of those guys that wasn't real big, but he knew how to explode on contact."
JOHN HANNAH of the New England Patriots and a Hall of Famer told sportswriter Will McDonough, "Singletary was the best linebacker I ever played against. He was intense. He was smart. He was quicker than heck. Chicago played the perfect defense for him."
Chicago linebacker coach David McGinnis added of Mike, "He's got one single straight-line focus: to be the best he can be, and there's no lip service to that. He puts that into practice. Day-to-day discipline is very hard to do, and he does it."
The "best he can be" focus resulted in 10 consecutive Pro Bowl appearances for Mike and comparisons to another Chicago Bears Hall of Famer, DICK BUTKUS.
"What I like about him is, Mike never seems to be satisfied. You always want to be singled out as the best, but being linked with a guy like Mike is fine with me. He worked at it, and he deserves it," Butkus declared in the Chicago Tribune book.
In a 1991 story, McGinnis also noted Mike's level of satisfaction, offering, "... but he’s never satisfied with what he's done. That's what has kept him at his peak throughout his career. He's still willing to take coaching and listen to new ideas. It's what sets him apart from other guys who reach so-called star quality."
Mike's acceptance of coaching and striving to achieve improvement were hallmarks of his career, and others noticed.
"Mike is an extremely focused person both on and off the field," Bears quarterback Mike Tomczak observed. "Even when we had that streak in which we were 18-1, Mike was always looking at film, seeing how we could get better."
Mike's effort, commitment and desire for success never wavered throughout his 12-season career in which he missed only two games.
Prior to Mike's final year McGinnis professed, "The longevity and the level that Mike has played for so many years is really special in this league. It's easy to be a one-year wonder or a two-year flash, but to be that consistent for that long and to play that high and to have the team have that many successes in that number of years is special."
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