MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Singletary is back in football.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer has been hired as head coach of the Memphis franchise in the Alliance of American Football that will begin play next February.
Memphis joins Orlando and Atlanta as teams in the new league overseen by another Hall of Famer, Bill Polian, and TV executive Charlie Ebersol. Singletary’s team will play home games in the Liberty Bowl.
Singletary previously coached for three NFL teams, including a head-coaching stint with San Francisco in which the 49ers went 18-22. He was the anchor of some staunch defenses in Chicago as a middle linebacker, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.
“I took tremendous pride in leading, teaching and competing during my playing days, and that experience prepared me for my coaching career,” he said Thursday. “I enjoy working closely with players and doing everything possible to set them up for success on and off the field. This is an opportunity to do that again at the professional level, and I’m excited to get started.”
The Alliance will feature eight teams playing a 10-week regular season beginning Feb. 9, 2019 — the weekend after the Super Bowl — on CBS. There will be two playoff rounds and a championship game on the weekend of April 26-28.
Polian is the head of football operations for the league. The longtime NFL general manager and executive helped recruit Steve Spurrier to coach the Orlando club and Brad Childress for Atlanta, with Michael Vick as an assistant.
Now, the Alliance has Singletary.
“Mike is a passionate, dedicated and intelligent leader,” Polian said. “During his Hall of Fame career he played with an unmatched level of intensity that served as the catalyst for a historic, Super Bowl-winning defense (in the 1985 season). He brings the same leadership qualities to the sidelines. His experience as a player and head coach will be invaluable to Alliance Memphis players and will have them in position to succeed on and off the field.”
Rosters will be culled from NFL cuts to the 53-man maximum after preseason, which Polian calls “the core of our constituency”; collegians who have gone undrafted, including underclassmen who have lost any remaining eligibility; players looking to return to the sport; and free agents from the CFL or elsewhere.