What Crabtree can learn from Singletary

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The 49ers hope Michael Crabtree's first NFL game goes more smoothly than coach Mike Singletary's debut with the Bears.

Advice to Crabtree: Do not call for a timeout on the first play.

Singletary, speaking to reporters Friday, recalled getting benched after calling timeout on the first defensive play of his first game.

"It was the longest day of my life," Singletary said. "Long day. Very embarrassing."

What happened? Defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan had told Singletary to call whatever defense Ryan sent in from the sideline, no exceptions.

"So, Gary Fencik was the safety, been there for years," Singletary recounted. "Well, I got the call from the sideline, and I called 2Z. Gary Fencik thought it was 3Z, and I said, 'No, it’s 2 Z.' So, he and I are arguing, and so I called timeout because I’m doing what Buddy told me to do."


"I go to the sideline, he tells me to sit down, curses me out and I didn’t get up for the rest of the game.," Singletary said.

The Bears beat the Chargers anyway.

"They had the hottest offense," Singletary said. "To this day, I think it was Dan Fouts’ worst game, that day that I didn’t play."

Singletary started the next week and was on his way to the Hall of Fame.