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30 for 30 film “The ’85 Bears” and ex-Baylor teammate stir memories for Singletary

Pro Football Hall Of Famer Mike Singletary has several distinctive scenes in the 30 for 30 documentary, “The ’85 Bears” (debuting tonight, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN).

The former Chicago Bears linebacker has an emotional reunion with former defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Working with former Bears head coach and current ESPN NFL analyst Mike Ditka, Ryan was the architect of the stingy defense Singletary helped lead to the Super Bowl XX title. On the 30th anniversary of that historic march, the film – narrated by actor Vince Vaughn (who also co-produced with Peter Billingsley) and directed by Emmy Award-winner Jason Hehir (“The Fab Five”) – explores how the Bears rose to dominance.

In the video above, Singletary tells Front Row about his emotional connection to Ryan, his favorite 30 for 30 prior to his participation in this one and more.

Family ties: Singletary on playing at Baylor with ESPN's Noubar Stone

Besides playing for ESPN’s Mike Ditka, Mike Singletary has at least one other football tie to the network.

He and Noubar Allen Stone – now senior creative director for ESPN Creative Services – were fellow linebackers at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, in 1977. Stone was a fifth-year senior recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him much of the 1976 season. But Stone started 10 of the 11 games he played with Singletary, who made an immediate impact as a freshman.

During a bye week in 1977, coach Grant Teaff decided to showcase the newcomer from Houston.

“We changed the defense from a five-man front to a four-man front so that Singletary would be the middle linebacker,” said Stone, who missed a chance to reunite with Singletary during the legend’s Bristol, Conn., visit. “He wasn’t a big-name guy, but he worked so darn hard and was so intense.”

In the video above, Singletary said that he’s not surprised Stone is working at ESPN. He describes his ex-teammate as being “out there” in terms of distinctive behavior.

“I was definitely nonconformist, let’s put it that way,” said Stone, who was known to stand on his head during Baylor practices.

Stone played linebacker – and eventually defensive end – at 190 pounds. Nearly 40 years later, he still fits easily into his Bears letterman’s jacket.

Singletary believes that Stone, who joined ESPN in September 1988 after starting his network television career at ABC Sports in 1980, could have been a “special teams warrior” in the NFL.

What does Stone think of Singletary’s assessment of his pro prospects?

“That’s being generous,” he said, laughing.

Noubar Stone, senior creative director, ESPN Creative Services, played linebacker and defensive end at Baylor University in the 1970s.  (Sheldon Spencer/ESPN)
Noubar Stone, senior creative director, ESPN Creative Services, played linebacker and defensive end at Baylor University in the 1970s. (Sheldon Spencer/ESPN)

Videos produced by Jon McLeod

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