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The 700 Club

Mike Singletary: 'Christ Means Everything'

Shawn Brown - 700 Club Producer

Mike Singletary spent 12 seasons as a key member of the celebrated Chicago Bears defense of the 1980s. This NFL Hall of Famer is back on the gridiron as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Looking back, he remembers setting clear goals as a 12-year-old in Houston, Texas.

“The first was to get a scholarship, go to college, get my degree in college, to become an All-American, to get drafted and to go the NFL, become an all pro, go to the Super Bowl,” Mike tells The 700 Club.

Mike accomplished it all. 

“I had everything.  Everybody was telling me I had everything. ‘Man, you got the world by the tail.’ And I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, I do, don’t I?’”

It was the Bears’ 1985 championship season when Mike realized football glory left him unfulfilled.

“It was right after the Super Bowl, and I realized that I was really, really empty. I had done all this stuff. I had made the Pro Bowl. I just signed a great contract, MVP that year, in the league – defensively, just won the Super Bowl. I was the emptiest and the most frustrated.”

Although Mike was raised in a Christian home, the decadent lifestyle of sports superstardom had overshadowed his faith. He had come to a crossroads.

“I just remember, one day, breaking down. I remember saying, ‘Lord, I’m supposed to be Your son, and You don’t talk to me, use me. You don’t do anything. I don’t understand this.’ In my spirit, I heard two things.  One was ‘I want to use you, but there are some things that you gotta clean up first.’ The second thing that I had to do [was] forgive my father.”

Mike’s father divorced his mother and walked out on the family when Mike was 12 years old.

“What people don’t understand about forgiveness is that you’re the one that’s in prison. You’re the one that’s going to be hurting. When I did that, the Lord began to change my life,” Mike says. “Day to day, he began to take away some of the bad habits that I had. He began to take away the language that I was speaking. He began to take away some of the places that my eyes used to look. He began to take away some of the music that I listened to one by one. Had it not been for Jesus Christ in my life, I’m sure I’d be divorced. I’m sure that I’d know my kids from a distance.”

Mike relishes his role as a husband and father of seven. He attributes his coaching techniques to his experiences being a dad.

“Coaching is really something that I was born for,” he explains. “What I do at home, it’s the same thing I do here.  There is nothing that changes. Absolutely nothing. The way I talk to my kids is the way I talk to these players. I tell my players, ‘Don’t tell me what you can’t do. Just tell me what you won’t do,” because anybody that has ability can do great things. It’s just a matter of going through the sacrifice and the selflessness in order to humble yourself and come to that place of being all that you need to be.’”

This is Mike’s second season as head coach in San Francisco, and in a league known for quick turnarounds in the coaching ranks, he’s not worried about his future.

“I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I know who holds tomorrow and that gives me reason to not worry about it. I put everything I have into today and do the best that I can today. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that I would take in place of my faith. To me, Christ means everything. I know that He’s got my back no matter what I do. So that gives me all the freedom in the world to be the man that He’s called me to be.”

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