It was 2007, at the Senior Bowl, and the NFL Network mic’d up Singletary, then an assistant head coach in San Francisco. Singletary tutored Willis all week and liked what he saw.
Three years later, the two men are the faces of the 49ers franchise. Willis’ $50 million contract extension means the linebacker will be around for a long time.
“I am very proud of what Pat has been able to accomplish. He is the epitome of what a 49er is all about,” Singletary said Tuesday. “Before it is all said and done, he may go down as one of the best to play the position.”
That means a lot coming a lot from Singletary. In 2007, after Willis got off to a fast start, Singletary was asked to compare Willis to his idol Ray Lewis.
“You’re looking at a guy that has the right to be called a great player, and you’re comparing him to a kid that’s looking forward to being a great player. There’s a difference in that, and I think it’s exciting to watch the transformation,” Singletary said in October, 2007.
That transformation remains on schedule.