Mike Singletary put his stamp on his coaching debut for the San Francisco 49ers, benching turnover-prone quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan in the second quarter and then sending volatile tight end Vernon Davis (right), a former Maryland star, to the locker room with more than 10 minutes remaining yesterday.
"I told him that he would do a better job for us right now taking a shower and coming back and watching the game than going out on the field," Singletary said after the 34-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. "Simple as that."
The confrontation with Davis started after the tight end was called for an unnecessary-roughness penalty for slapping a Seahawks defender's head after a tackle on a 7-yard reception in the third quarter.
Davis tried to avoid his coach as he ran to the sideline, but Singletary gave him an earful before sending him to the bench. Singletary said he was upset at what he considered a nonchalant attitude by Davis, who did not seem to understand why his coach was so upset.
Said Singletary: "I'd rather play with 10 people and just get penalized all the way until we have to do something else rather than play with 11 when I know that right now that person is not sold out to be a part of this team."
Davis disputed the call, saying he just tapped Brian Russell's face mask and did not deserve a penalty. He said Singletary just told him to be smart on the field and he had no problem with the banishment.
MORE 49ERS: : The team denied reports that an unnamed high-ranking official was willing to explore hiring Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as team president. "If she's interested in talking to us, I'm interested in talking to her," the official told Adam Schefter of the NFL Network's GameDay Morning. The report added that Rice has told friends as recently as last week that she would love to become president of an NFL team and was planning to return to California in January. 49ers officials dismissed the topic before kickoff yesterday. Team spokesman Aaron Salkin told the San Jose Mercury News: "We don't respond to rumors."
VIKINGS: : Pro Bowl defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams could face four-game suspensions for violating the NFL's steroid policy, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, quoting Fox Sports. Fox's Jay Glazer reported yesterday that the co-anchors of one of the NFL's best run defenses tested positive for a banned diuretic in water pills. Pat Williams' agent, Angelo Wright, said in a text message that he needed to "investigate the allegations" before responding. Kevin Williams' agent, Tom Condon, did not return a message left at his office or an e-mail seeking a comment yesterday. Vikings spokesman Bob Hagan and the NFL's Greg Aiello declined to comment.
DOLPHINS: : Owner H. Wayne Huizenga said yesterday that no date has been set for selling up to 45 percent more of the team to Stephen Ross, but the presidential election is among the issues weighing on his decision. That's because a Barack Obama administration is expected to mean higher capital gains taxes. "He wants to double the capital gains tax, or almost double it," Huizenga said. "I'd rather give it to charity than to him."