Legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary shared his testimony of life, faith and football to more than 1,000 who attended Thursday’s fifth annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) fundraiser breakfast at the Landers Center in Southaven.
Singletary gave an inspiring message of how a pact he made with God as a 12-year-old led him to give everything he had in his personal life and as a football player.
“Man, I was tackling my sisters, I was tackling my brothers, I was tackling my mom,” Singletary quipped as he explained how dedicated he was to becoming the player that ended with a World Championship as a member of Chicago Bears and a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Singletary, who is starting this weekend his first season as head coach of the new Memphis Express in the Alliance of American Football, spoke on other items in his talk.
He told coaches the importance of teaching their players about more than just their sport, but to also focus on life as another teacher for them.
“Let them see you do things right,” Singletary told his coaching brethren. “As a coach, I fail a kid if I’m only teaching them about football. If I’m not teaching them about life, I have failed that kid. I don’t know how you can play football and not know God.”
Singletary related his life story and admitted he and his father did not always have a good relationship.
“One of the greatest things that my dad gave me was a work ethic,” Singletary said. “But, one of the things that I missed was that I never knew the love of my father. One of the things that I asked for when we became friends later in life was that I asked my dad on his dying day to bless me, which he did.”
He also urged his male audience to be good role models.
“There was a reason why a man was created and a woman was created,” Singletary said. “We need to be men and be fathers, but also be men of our homes. If we could ever be the man of our homes again, maybe we would have a country that’s worth being America. The only reason we can be men and we can be standing in our home is when we’re kneeling before a God that can show us how to lead and how to love, because if it is coming from us, we will fail.”
Thursday’s breakfast featured comments about the growth of FCA from Multi-Area Director John Engstrom, a faith testimony from Maggie Neal of DeSoto Central High School and the awarding of the Coach Bob Patterson Award, named in memory of the late Memphis State University Athletic Director and coach who was well known in the DeSoto County area.
The two scholarships under that award went to Olive Branch football and baseball player Cole Catledge and DeSoto Central softball player Molly Beth Ferguson. They each receive a $1,000 scholarship in recognition of their athletic and faith leadership roles.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.