ROCKFORD — Mike Singletary, named this week as the 15th greatest Chicago Bear in the team’s 100-year history, was the keynote speaker for Thursday’s annual local Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet at Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center.
Here are six questions with the Hall of Fame linebacker, son of a preacher and former NFL head coach with the San Francisco 49ers:
1) What does FCA mean to you and how often do you speak at their banquets?
“I probably do three or four a year, and this is my third this month. FCA is a wonderful program. It’s great for young kids. It’s great for sports. It teaches the right mindset and right attitude, having kids focus on everything beyond the game. It also helps kids focus on how to play the game, taking care of each other, with God at the center of that.”
2) Is it hard to balance being a Christian and playing a sport as violent as football?
“I don’t see how you can play football without being a Christian, to be honest. I remember when I first came to Chicago and walked in the office and (defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan) said, ‘You are one of those Christian guys. I’ve never seen a really tough Christian.’ I said, ‘Well, you haven’t seen me yet.’
“It’s a shame that Christians have that perception. Everything I did, I wanted to exemplify excellence. I wanted to bring glory to God by the way I played. People say, ‘How can a guy play like that? He is so intense, so focused.’ It’s because I believed that’s what we’re called to do as Christians. Everything God has given to me, I want to give back to him by doing my best and say thank you.”
3) TV loved to show close-ups of your eyes bugging out when you played. What do you think of that?
“People don’t understand what I was trying to do. I was trying to see the whole field. I had to learn that by focusing. It’s like focusing a camera, but you focus until you can see every single spot, every body movement. To be good, you have to be able to see it.”
4) The list of all-time Chicago Bears this week had Brian Urlacher at No. 14 and you at No. 15. Who was better?
“I don’t get into who was better, who was this, who was that? All I know is it comes down to what you put into the game. Did you do your best? After you’ve done that, you’ve got to be pleased. I know what I am. The rest of it, they can have it.”
5) How does the defense you played on compare to the Uralcher Bears or the Khalil Mack Bears?
“They are three different eras. All are great in their own way. All I know is when I played in 1985 what it felt like. It was magic.”
6) Do you want to coach again and is the NFL’s Rooney Rule promoting more minority hires working?
“I coached the Memphis Express (in the now-folded Alliance of American Football) and I’m coaching in high school now (at Trinity Christian Academy in Dallas). I’m taking any head coaching job I can get to continue the experience. As far as the Rooney Rule, you can look around and see for yourself. All I know is I don’t want to talk about the problem. I want to be part of the solution. I just want to work my tail off every day and let God do the rest.”