When Mike Singletary took over as head coach in San Francisco in 2008, one of his first actions was benching tight end Vernon Davis in the middle of a game because he thought Davis was putting himself above the team.
Davis wound up getting the message and credits Singletary with setting his career on the right track by teaching him that lesson. He said that he regrets never getting a chance to thank Singletary, who was fired during the 2010 season, for telling him there was more to playing the game than worrying about your own stats.
“I remember the very first time he kicked me off the field. Tears were shed. I told him, ‘I want to be traded Coach.’ He said, ‘OK. I’ll find another team for you.’ That moment, it started to click for me. It made me a better man, a better teammate and a better leader for my team. It helped me become the player I am today,” Davis said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “I never really had an opportunity to tell him how much it meant to me. By the time I looked up, he was gone. That fast. I am very grateful.”
Singletary’s tenure in San Francisco was not successful, but several players that he either developed or help break into the NFL are playing essential roles on this year’s 49ers team. That probably means that Davis isn’t the only one with a debt of gratitude to pay for a guy who’s now looking for a second chance to lead an NFL team.