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Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Walsh's top regret: not drafting Singletary



Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Ernest pointed out via Facebook a 2003 fan Q&A in which Bill Walsh said he regretted trading a draft choice the 49ers could have used on Mike Singletary. I'll include the pertinent portion here:
 Singletary

Wyn Morgan, Wales: Bill, as a fan of the Niners since '83 some 6,000 miles away from San Francisco in Wales, I have the following question for you: Looking back from the time you took the Niner coaching job in '79, if you were able to go back in time and do one thing differently -- it could be a play call in a game, a personnel move or whatever -- what would the one thing you'd do differently be?

Bill Walsh: We had an opportunity to draft Mike Singletary. We traded that choice to the Chicago Bears, who then drafted Mike Singletary, who became a Hall of Fame football player -- one of the great linebackers of all-time. So, he was there for our bidding. But, on the other hand, with that trade, we drafted two outstanding players -- Michael Carter and Jeff Fuller -- who were Super Bowl champions. But, I do wish -- as I look back -- that Mike Singletary would have been a part of the 49er organization.

The last part of that response from Walsh jumps out. Singletary was entering his first season as an NFL assistant coach -- with the Ravens, not the 49ers -- when Walsh made the statement. Walsh presumably wasn't referring to anything Singletary might accomplish in coaching, although Singletary did seek out Walsh for pointers and the two developed a bond.

It's interesting to me that Walsh would point to the decision against drafting Singletary as his single biggest regret during his 49ers tenure. Of course, there weren't many regrets from which to choose. Walsh made the right moves most of the time.